Now the Turtle Gets Its Turn in The Incredible Journey


A throwback to the blithely anthropomorphic Disney wildlife docs of yore, only devoid of their endearing cornball humor, TV-nature-show vet Nick Stringer’s Turtle: The Incredible Journey chronicles the birth and early life of a loggerhead turtle in kid-friendly fashion. It’s a compelling story: Hatched on a Florida beach, the movie’s subject makes a perilous tour of the Atlantic via the Gulf Stream before—like any savvy Floridian—detouring to the Caribbean for sex and then returning to the Sunshine State to drop her young. The exploits of our fetching heroine (or heroines, since Turtle’s narrative spans over 20 years and thus relies on several loggerhead thespians) genuinely earn that “incredible” tag, but we don’t actually learn much about the species’ habits or history here. A little mystery in a science documentary isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but substituting hard data with attributions of human motives like envy, revenge, and interspecies friendship is bound to strain credibility even with youngsters, especially when screenwriter Melanie Finn’s florid narration is dourly delivered by Miranda Richardson to the accompaniment of a drippy score. Turtle still has cinematographer Rory McGuinness’s remarkable visuals in its favor, though, and reveals how even innocuous human activites curtail the loggerheads’ centuries-in-the-making migration with refreshing subtlty.