By Steve Persall
Times Film Critic
Penguins march but sea turtles mostly float through instinctual rituals of reproduction, a process detailed in Turtle: The Incredible Journey. Nick Stringer's nature documentary moves about as fast as its subject, which is to say not very.
Gorgeously photographed by Rory McGuiness, the film is fine for museums or an exhibit at SeaWorld, explaining why the theme park attached its brand in April to this nearly 2-year-old production. Henning Lohner's musical score might be perfect yoga class accompaniment.
The journey is, indeed, incredible: a voyage for tiny hatchlings that we're familiar with since an estimated 2 million loggerheads begin their lives on Florida beaches. Swept away by Gulf Stream currents, the turtles must survive predators and fishermen for tens of thousands of miles before returning to their birthplaces to begin the cycle again. Stringer pretends to follow one turtle all the way but it's really a well-edited combination of many.
Yet the movie seldom bridges the gap between education and entertainment, a trait that made March of the Penguins a must-see multiplex experience. One issue is that turtles don't have the quirky personality of penguins, and these don't have Morgan Freeman's bemused baritone narrating their mating trek. Turtles get dramatic, academic narration by Miranda Richardson, and a script without whimsy.
Turtle: The Incredible Journey clearly makes its points about conservation and the wonders of undersea nature. But your money might be better spent in donations to rescue efforts, rather than at the box office. B (BayWalk 20 in St. Petersburg)