SAMMY'S ADVENTURES - A Greenpeace Message
SAMMY'S ADVENTURES: The Secret Passage (animated adventure in 3D)
Cast: Isabelle Fuhrman, Tim Curry, Melanie Griffith, Jenny McCarthy, Kathy Griffin, Anthony Anderson, Stacy Keach, Ed Begley Jr and Billy Unger
Director: Ben Stassen
Script: Dominic Paris
Time: 135 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: If you find Sammy's Adventures rather predictable and dull, it is probably because Belgian director Ben Stassen seems so carried away by its anti-pollution and environmental messages that he misses out on the plot and the action. However, the visuals in this underwater opus are top-notch (especially in 3D) and way better than Stassen's last effort Fly Me To The Moon.
I also like the way Stassen tells the story from a turtle's eye view - which will go a long way in educating children on undersea life and protecting those creatures and our ecology.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The movie is about a green sea turtle who is hatched in 1959 and spends the next 50 years travelling the world while it is being changed by relentless whale and shark fishing, pollution and global warming. Hours after being hatched, Sammy (voice of Yuri Lowenthal) finds and loses the love of his life, a pretty hatchling called Shelly (Isabelle Fuhrman of Orphan fame).
On the epic journey across the oceans that all turtles must accomplish before returning to the beach where they were born, Sammy dodges every danger in the hope of meeting Shelly again. On the way, he also has encounters with humans, both good and bad, as well as toothy sharks and piranhas.
HITS & MISSES: It is easy to root for Sammy and his pals not only because they are cute but also because they are sporting and gutsy. With its story spanning over 50 years, Stassen marks the milestone periods with human events (like the hippies of the Sixties and the Greenpeace protests) and with classic songs on the soundtrack. Of course, the Beatles are represented with their hit, Across The Universe (what else?).
On the downside, character development seems to be at a minimum for some - and the 3D thrills (read action and stunts) are nowhere as impressive as those of Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. Indeed, from the numerous death-defying scraps that Sammy escapes from, we wonder how he can have such an 'enchanted' life indeed if not for far-fetched plotting.
THE LOWDOWN: An entertaining sea-world documentary for the kids.