Turbo is your typical underdog film, a theme glorified by animated features these days. This time the underdog is a garden snail named Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who spends his time watching VHS tapes of professional car races and admiring his hero racer, Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). Fed up with the daily routine of him and others, including his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), he dreams of a faster life, a trait that snails lack. After trying to save a tomato from being eaten up by a lawn mower (which he failed), Turbo is almost sucked in too. Later that night, he is swept away by an eighteen wheeler and lands onto a car which is part of a drag race; a few seconds into the race, Turbo is sucked into the car’s engine and is infused with nitrous oxide. This results in his anatomy changing into that of a car’s, speed included. He (and Chet) are taken in by Tito (Michael Peña), the human version of Turbo who is a big dreamer and constantly defying his brother, Angelo (Luis Guzmán). Turbo meets other snails in his new home: Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Burn (Maya Rudolph), Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg), Skid Mark (Ben Schwartz), and White Shadow (Mike Bell). After he’s discovered to be a snail with super speed, Tito decides to sponsor him with the help of he and his brother’s dying business, Dos Bros Tacos. Also lending a hand are neighboring business owners Bobby (Richard Jenkins), Kim-Ly (Ken Jeong) – yes, he voices a tiny old woman, and Paz (Michelle Rodriguez).
Turbo directs Tito to a ridiculous idea: the Indy 500. As cliche as it is, the little guy was sure persistent. After arriving in Indianapolis, Tito and the gang are received with laughter when he mentions his idea. But Turbo surprises them when he completes a lap around the racetrack going at 226 mph, 4 less than Guy Gagne’s record. He gains national spotlight when a video of his performance is uploaded online. The decision of Turbo entering the Indy 500 is taken into consideration by the CEO (Kurtwood Smith). As he holds a press conference and denies Turbo of entering the race, Guy Gagne convinces him otherwise. But Guy’s kindness suddenly switches as he feels threatened by Turbo and becomes the film’s villain. Fast-forward to the actual race, because nothing really happens in between (really). There’s a pile-up in the last lap of the race and Turbo is close to the finish line when his nitro juice runs out. He gives up but then his brother Chet steps up his courage and persists Turbo to continue the race at normal snail pace. As he’s about to near the finish line, Guy Gagne comes out of the pile and carries his car to try and finish first too. After trying to squash Turbo with his foot, the ambitious snail tucks and rolls onto the finish line, gaining him a trophy and praise from fans all around.
The film is an obvious answer to Disney’s Cars, though it took a while. When I first saw the trailer to it, I thought it looked ridiculous, mostly because of the plot. A snail given car-like speed and racing in a race car competition? Where is the originality! I still think it’s a ridiculous idea, but it works for its target audience. Though the film mostly targets the young male audience, I don’t see why young girls wouldn’t enjoy it too. At times, the characters seemed forced, spewing out jokes. But don’t get me wrong, it had its funny moments that made me laugh. What also got to me is that it was too rushed. You go from point A, to B, to C in a transitional mess. Still, it doesn’t seem like a big issue for animated features.
It is definitely not my favorite animated film of the year so far, but I won’t say that I hated it. I did enjoy some of its moments and the animation it top-notch. And although I didn’t love this movie, I won’t say that people shouldn’t waste their money and time to watch it. It is perfect for kids and I’m quite certain that THEY will love it. Heck, my nephew was laughing the whole time. But as I am an adult, my views on it are different, so don’t take reviews much into consideration for animated films if you just want to take your kids on a weekend. Go for it!
Turbo will be released worldwide Wednesday, July 17.
Take your kids!!!