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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Turtle: The Incredible Journey

Swim through the ocean with one of Earth's oldest species

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Now playing at SeaWorld, Turtle: The Incredible Journey follows a female loggerhead turtle throughout her 25-year journey to the North Atlantic, one of the longest migrations of the natural world.

Directed by Nick Stringer and narrated by Miranda Richardson, this family-friendly documentary tugs at the heartstrings of viewers of all ages. The film has a National Geographic feel that is also reminiscent of Pixar’s Finding Nemo. However, instead of following a clown fish on the vigilant search for his missing son, children can imagine joining Nemo's friend Crush and his clan of sea turtles throughout the voyage to their mecca.

From the start of the film, viewers are struck with suspense as they watch the little loggerhead turtle fight for survival from the moment of birth. She, along with thousands of her brothers and sisters, has “just minutes to live or die.” The crab becomes her arch nemesis, who she’ll face again near the end of her journey.

Just like Pixar’s animated adventure, the heroine turtle meets an exotic assortment of friends and foes during her quest through the Gulf Stream’s current, “like travelers in a circus caravan, each one is different.”

Eventually, as her natural instincts kick in, she quickly transitions from prey to predator. She enters adulthood at last.

The turtle faces multiple close encounters, narrowly escaping alive. After some exhausting struggles against predators of the sea, long line fishermen, jagged shores and freezing winter water, she fights for the energy to continue because she “only knows how to keep swimming” and “stay her course.” You could almost hear Dory’s sing-song voice rooting her on, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

Only one in 10,000 loggerhead turtles survive long enough to enter adulthood. When the turtle reaches the Caribbean islands, she experiences an emotional reunion with fellow survivors of the long journey. But she still faces a long journey back to her beach, where she must “pay her debt to the land.”

“I will be taking my 6-year-old god daughter to see this film in the cinema, but I know it will appeal to all generations,” Richardson said.

Loggerhead turtles have inhabited the earth for more than 200 million years, outliving dinosaurs. Their survival is now threatened by a variety of factors such as long line fishing, property development and pollution. Maybe after watching the heroine turtle nearly die from the opportunity to eat a wad of plastic wrapping littered in the ocean, viewers will feel motivated to take action in preserving the species and saving the ocean.

This film is currently playing in New York, Los Angeles and at all three SeaWorld locations (San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando) and will be available in most major U.S. cities in late July.