Fox // 2013 // 96 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // November 23rd, 2013
Wired for speed.
"Has the whole world lost its mind?"
Turbo (Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern) is a snail who's absolutely obsessed with racing. Sure, snails are notoriously slow and Turbo is no exception, but that doesn't keep him from dreaming of being a great race car driver. Through a series of exceptionally contrived circumstances, Turbo ends up gaining superpowers that permit him to move as fast as any race car. In no time at all, Turbo is teaming up with an eager human sponsor named Tito (Michael Pena, Observe and Report) and a host of other race-loving snails in the hopes of competing in the Indy 500.
Turbo feels like the sort thing a computer might spit out, if you asked it to conjure up a financially successful animated children's movie. It borrows bits and pieces of other films without shame, but rarely generates any interesting ideas of its own. You've got the story of a small animal attempting to defy its own nature ala Ratatouille, you've got the high-octane racing action that fueled the Cars movies, you've got a child antagonist who acts an awful lot like Sid from Toy Story and the hero even gets superpowers, because hey, people are really into that superhero stuff, right? The film is as slick and professional as you would expect a Dreamworks production to be, but this is a disappointingly unimaginative film considering that it's coming from the company that gave us Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda.
Even if the film had more originality to offer, it suffers from an excess of characters. First off, you've got the group of snails who work in a humble tomato garden with Turbo and Chet. Then, you've got famed racer Guy Gagne (Bill Hader, Adventureland) and a host of racing folks (including a couple of characters voiced by Mario Andretti). Next up, you have several major human characters and their assorted friends/business associates, voiced by actors ranging from Luis Guzman (Carlito's Way) to Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading) to Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar). On top of that, you have the entourage of snail race junkies, voiced by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Snoop Dogg (Chappelle's Show), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and more. So few of these characters are given enough screen time to make an impression; one can't help but feel that the Happy Meal toys will ultimately prove more memorable than the actual characters.
The film flopped at the box office, but I suppose it may fare well enough on home video. It benefits from strong animation and quality voice work, and kids won't mind the fact that it leans so heavily on established conventions (this is such a typical inspirational sports movie that the soundtrack contains both "We Are the Champions" AND "Eye of the Tiger"). I've definitely seen worse animated movies, but it's been a while since I've seen one that felt so lazy (this is better than Despicable Me 2, but not more ambitious).
On the bright side, Turbo (Blu-ray) has received a dazzling 1080p/2.35:1 transfer that should serve as an impressive showcase for your home theatre. The bright colors (and there are a lot of them) practically fly off the screen, and the level of detail is astounding everywhere you look. It's a knockout. The DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio track is equally masterful, delivering the film's song-heavy soundtrack (which leans heavier on hip-hop than you might expect) with flair and really kicking into gear during the racing sequences. The final third of the movie will give your speakers an impressive workout. Dialogue is crystal-clear throughout. Supplements are mostly of the kid-centric variety: a handful of very short featurettes ("Champion's Corner," "Team Turbo: Tricked Out," "Meet Tito" and "The Race: Storyboard Sequence"), a series of videos on how to draw several of the main characters, five music videos, a "Shell Creator" interactive feature, a deleted scene, a trailer, a DVD copy and a digital copy. Nothing that will really interest older viewers, I'm afraid.
I'm going to turn over the closing statement to IMDb user Vijayanand Phad:
"There was no intention to watch this movie. Trailer and story didn't click to me. However, I accidentally watch this movie.
This movie is about a snail dreams about being Indy 500 race champion. How he get powers, how he enters into the race and finally what happens is a nice journey to watch.
Movie is short and sticks to the story. Animation is really good. I thought as Snail is the hero the movie from their perspective will be very slow but this is never the case.
Story is somewhat acceptable for children but watchable for elders as well. This is a nice movie to watch for 90 mins.
There is nothing best about the movie. So it is just a watchable. It won't bore you."
Guilty, if you're over the age of 10.
Review content copyright © 2013 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Interactive Feature
* Deleted Scene
* Music Videos
* Art Lessons
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download
* Official Site
* Facebook Page