Starring the Voices of: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez.
Rated: PG. Animated. Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes.
Honestly, Ross & I were not expecting too much from this one, but Ethan was intrigued when we peeped previews before Despicable Me 2. The premise didn’t really appeal to either of us. Snail wants to be fast, snail becomes fast, snail competes at Indy 500. It’s a unique concept, but centered around things I’m not very interested in. However, it surprised me to some extent and ended up surpassing my expectations. The story had an encouraging and uplifting message: Follow your dreams. But the message was delivered with a noticeable lack of laughs and the final result was underwhelming. The tale begins in a garage bordering a lush garden of red, ripe tomatoes. Our main character “Turbo”, or as his snail kin call him, Theo, is watching car racing on a small television. He has a race track set up and he is working on improving his lap time of 2 minutes, while playing out his ‘speedy’ fantasy. His brother instructs him to get some rest for a big day of work that’s ahead of them. The snails travel in force, but slowly, toward the garden where they harvest the fresh tomatoes and send the duds hurtling toward “Turbo”, who is having a difficult time dodging the fleshy, large orbs. He vocally daydreams about racing as he completes his daily tasks and the other snails castigate him for what they believe to be a fruitless dream. But can we blame them…he is a snail – one of the quintessential slow creatures of the Earth.
Snail ends up falling on drag racing car, gets dose of nitrous, becomes super fast. Turbo was mildly better than I expected, but still very mediocre. And as Maria pointed out, seriously lacking in the humor department. Ethan seemed to like it which is the most important thing really. I’ve made this point before, the bar has been set so high for animated films that when you see one that is not spectacular, it is a major disappointment. That being said, even though Turbo was an average offering, I was okay with it because my expectations weren’t very high going in. My favorite part of the movie was Turbo’s sidekick snails which included Samuel L., Snoop and Maya Rudolph (think Lightning McQueen’s pit crew). Michael Pena as Tito, Turbo’s manager of sorts, was okay as well. Just a mostly forgettable hour and a half, but not so bad you want to demand your money back. If it’s a rainy day and you literally have nothing else to do with the kids, maybe point the car toward your local theater. Maybe. But you know, bowling can be fun too.
The bar is really up there, so it’s understandable when one of these kids movies doesn’t make the cut as one of the elite. With so many classics in the rearview mirror, the more recent stuff starts to blend together. The theme of this film echoed that of many other animated features, but without the clever writing and entertainment. Perhaps if I were a die hard car racing fan I would have found the plot more enticing. It felt like a convoluted concoction of Epic, Cars and Antz all mixed up into one picture. Turbo was good for a few smiles and for entertaining Ethan throughout the afternoon. He enjoyed himself and as Ross said, that’s what really matters. If I were you, I’d skip the theatre on this one and wait for the DVD release. You’ll save some cash and your precious time.
Actually, I have another idea. Go see Despicable Me 2 again, that movie is awesome! Hey, if you love auto racing, Turbo is worth a watch. Also, figuring out who the voices are is a fun game, I nailed Richard Jenkins in this one, a decent snipe. And if you are into motorsports, keep a sharp ear to see if you can ferret out Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti. Or you could take Maria’s advice, wait for video.
Maria’s Rating: 2 Gummy Bears out 5.
Ross’ Rating: 2.5 Gummies.