See Greenpeace and Aardman's Heartbreaking Take on the Destruction of the Oceans

A turtle family's trip ends in catastrophe

With the world's oceans under relentless attack from climate change, plastic pollution, oil drilling and overfishing, Aardman Animations is doing what it does best—telling adorable stop-motion stories of anthropomorphized creatures—to address the growing catastrophe unfolding in our oceans. 

A new two-minute Greenpeace film from Aardman—best known for its Wallace and Gromit shorts and films—makes an emotional plea to viewers through the story of a family of turtles who are returning home after visiting the grandparents.

The journey begins well, with the turtles acting prim and chipper, like the model British family, but the narrative soon turns heartbreaking as the destruction of the oceans hits close to home for our heroes. 

Turtle Journey: the crisis in our oceans

An impressive set of A-listers provided the voices for the characters, including Oscar winners Olivia Colman and Helen Mirren, as well as Bella Ramsey (the 16-year-old who played Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones), David Harbour of Stranger Things, Jim Carter of Downton Abbey, and comedian Ahir Shah. 

"I'm thrilled to have worked on this heartbreaking film with Greenpeace and Aardman," Colman said in a statement. "Our oceans face so many threats, some I wasn't even aware of before this, and sadly, the story of this turtle family trying to get home in a damaged and changing ocean is a reality for so many marine creatures that are having their habitats destroyed by human activities. I hope this film inspires more people to take action to protect our oceans." 

"During my lifetime, I've seen nature being destroyed on an unimaginable scale by human activity," added Mirren. "I'm saddened that our generation will leave to future generations a damaged planet, which has already lost so much of the biodiversity that makes it special. However, we have a chance to do something now and leave a legacy of properly protected oceans to all the people who come after us. We can't bring back what we've already lost, but we can protect what we still have."

"Future generations will be living out the consequences of what we do, or don't do, right now," said Ramsey. "Will governments sit idly by while our oceans are destroyed, or will they leave a legacy of healthy, protected oceans that can be admired by all, now and in the future?" 

Gavin Strange, who directed the film, called it "a personal yet universal story of family, loss and hope." He added: "It was an absolute dream to work with such a talented crew of animators, artists and creators here at Aardman, manipulating clay and pixels to make such a nuanced and delicate piece of animation. Brought to life by a stellar cast of world-class voice talent, topped off by a simply sublime score from Arthur Jeffe's Penguin Cafe and with Greenpeace's hard-hitting call to action, I am immensely proud of what we've all made together."

At the end, the piece urges U.K. viewers to sign Greenpeace's petition calling for a Global Ocean Treaty. (U.S. readers can sign here.)

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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