By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
When I heard The Red Turtle, a collaborative work between Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch (distributing) and Michaël Dudok de Wit, is making its rounds at special screenings, I knew I had to jump at the chance to see it as soon as it arrived in North America. Flying to Japan or Toronto was sadly out of the question due to budget, but as soon as I saw that it was playing at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival, I wanted to hop a ride on a whale to the mainland as soon as my schedule allowed. In the Pacific Northwest, orcas are representative to the region and I do not think one would kindly take to riding her back to English Bay / Vancouver Harbour just for this film. The same might be said for this film’s protagonist when considering his first encounters with the reptile, and he got off lucky!
With this movie, I find Hayao Miyazaki never fails to astound his fans in the talents he recognizes as masters of their craft. After he stated, “All I did was announce that I would be retiring and not making any more features,” in a report by LA Times, he would still be influential in the future of the company he helped co-found. His son Gorō is involved in other co-productions with various studios and Isao Takahata helped with the artistic development of this Dutch animator / director feature-length film debut.