Whizzy and superficial, this isn't the most complicated animated film ever made, but it's a lot of fun if you can buy into its silly premise about a snail who moves at super-fast speed. Aside from its riotous sense of energy and thrilling action sequences, the script is also packed with enough deranged humour to keep the adults laughing along with the kids.
It starts in a normal garden, where Theo (voiced by Reynolds) dreams of racing his human idol, the Indy champ Guy Gagne (Hader). Theo even calls himself "Turbo", annoying his pragmatic brother Chet (Giamatti). Then a freak accident involving nitrous-oxide gives him lightning speed. In search of a chance to race, he meets another dreamer with a practical-minded brother: Tito (Pena) is a man who owns a taco truck with his grumpy sibling Angelo (Guzman). And it's Tito who works with local business owners (Jenkins, Jeong and Rodriguez) to help Turbo achieve his goal to enter the Indianapolis 500 and race against his hero. On the track, Turbo is assisted by a pit-crew of Tito's pet snails (Jackson, Rudolph, Dogg and Schwartz).
Yes, the plot is preposterous, but the script openly acknowledges the insanity of the "snail vs car" race, maintaining the dizzying size discrepancy as all of the characters are just as incredulous as we are. The filmmakers also create a hilarious snail underworld packed with running gags about the perils of being so little. Although they haven't included much slime, which is a strange omission for a movie aimed primarily at pre-teen boys. Still, each snail (and each human too) is such a bundle of big personality traits that we don't really mind the gender and ethnic stereotypes.
The nonstop action distracts us too, since the animators have gone all-out in creating witty and visually exciting set-pieces. And some of the race-track sequences are truly exhilarating. So it doesn't really matter that the film's ultimate message is rather trite (believe in yourself and those you love), and that the point about how the world needs dreamers is kind of undermined by the fact that Turbo only succeeds because he magically acquires a superpower. But then this isn't gritty realism; it's an entertaining joy-ride.
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 17th July 2013
Box Office USA: $83.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $282.6M
Distributed by: DreamWorks Animation
Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 70 Rotten: 35
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: David Soren
Producer: Lisa Stewart
Screenwriter: Darren Lemke, Robert Siegel, David Soren
Starring: Ryan Reynolds as Turbo (voice), Paul Giamatti as Chet (voice), Michael Peña as Tito (voice), Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash (voice), Luis Guzmán as Angelo (voice), Bill Hader as Guy Gagné (voice), Snoop Dogg as Smoove Move (voice), Maya Rudolph as Burn (voice), Ben Schwartz as Skid Mark (voice), Richard Jenkins as Bobby (voice), Ken Jeong as Kim-Ly (voice), Michelle Rodriguez as Paz (voice)
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