Seeing the trailer for `Turbo' a few months back I was rather determined that this was going to be one of those films I skipped entirely. Then my girls caught wind up it and begged and pleaded and I thought, I'll rent it. Then the film was released and they begged some more and I said "let your grandma take you" but for some reason I wound up sitting in a theater last night waiting for what I only assumed was going to be `Cars' with snails.
`Turbo' is far from a truly intelligent or unique film, and yet it manages to be not only fun and engaging but charming to a point where I found myself completely entwined in the story and the characters. The tried and true themes of `dreaming big' are not something new or untold with animated films. Animated films, which are manufactured for children, are there to inspire confidence and help them to realize that they can do anything they set their mind to. That is why in animated films, rats can cook, wimps can train dragons and snails can race cars. Impossibilities exaggerate truths for kids and help them to `dream big', which is something we want for all of our kids. Like I said, this is nothing new, and `Turbo' doesn't really even attempt to make it new, but it does handle its themes and premise with spunk and charm.
The film tells the story of Theo, a worker snail who harvest tomatoes in a garden but watches Nascar at night, dreaming of one day being a racer. The huge obstacle being that he is a snail and thus VERY slow. Still, this and the fact that his antics cause turmoil within his social circle and ridicule from his fellow workers does not stop him from thinking outside of the box, and when a freak accident leaves everything in his slug-juice, Theo (aka Turbo) finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel. When a down and out taco shop owner snatches up Theo and his brother for some snail racing his powers wow this small community and soon Theo finds himself racing in the Indie 500.
I'll say this; I'm really happy that films like this, `Monsters University' and `The Croods' have developed stories with no true antagonist other than life's obstacles and so we aren't force feeding our children more and more stories about evil people doing evil things. The chief antagonist in `Turbo' is the mere fact that Theo is a snail, with a fame hungry racecar driver playing a minor obstacle in the end. There is no evil snail trying to kill him. Sure, there is some `Sid-like' kid that lives across the street who likes to crush snails on his bike, but he's not evil but merely a toddler and it's played up for comic relief.
Speaking of comic relief, `Turbo' is genuinely funny. The voice work from the cast is great, with Oscar nominees Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Jenkins spouting off alongside SNL alumni Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph with Snoop Dogg, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez and Ken Jeong lending their talents as well. Everyone hits their notes and makes a unified ensemble. The sight gags (especially with the crows) are hilarious, and the use of music is rather inspired. That spoof on the viral sensation of `I ain't got time for that' was one of the highlights of my movie year so far!
So, with a surprised spirit I say "GO SEE TURBO!!!"
on August 1, 2013
Below are reviews by two of our youth film critics, one from a 15-year-old and one from an 11-year-old.
Geared towards kids under the age of 10, "Turbo" will be sure to have kids delighted and cheering the snails on. However, the excitement merely lingers for a short while, just like the exhaust trail from a racecar speeding by.
For a movie about racing snails, "Turbo" isn't half as bad as I thought it would be. Although initially skeptical, I changed my mind for the better because of the movie's amusing wit and heart. A normal garden snail named Theo has big dreams of being the fastest racer in the world. His brother, Chet, sees Theo's dream as nonsense and a distraction to their work in the garden. One day, a freak accident involving Nitrous Oxide changes Theo to Turbo. Suddenly this snail has the abilities of a car - headlights, a stereo, and of course, unparalleled speed powers! A Mexican taco seller, who shares the same dreams as Turbo, enters the snail in the Indy 500. On his journey to the greatest car race in the world, Turbo befriends a gang of smooth cool snails (you'll never look at snails the same way again) and meets his rival, the menacing racer, world-renowned Guy Gagne.
The plot is straightforward and simple, mixed in with heart-warming feel-good morals typical of underdog family-friendly animated genres. "Dream big!" the film seems to shout at every turn. I could have done without highlighting the message quite so much. Although "Turbo" starts off slow, it gradually begins to pick up speed. The filmmakers also could have included more brother bonding moments between Turbo and Chet.
The voice-overs are solid, especially Ryan Reynolds' Turbo and Paul Giamatti's Chet. The snail gang is hilarious, voiced by Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson. Unlike Blue Sky Studio's "Epic" that came out earlier this year, DreamWorks hired big names not because of their celebrity status, but because their voices actually fit the slick, suave characters.
At its best, "Turbo" is a heart-pounding inspiring flick, perfect to keep kids entertained. "Turbo" isn't going to make its way into my evergreen library but certainly this family-friendly film will grab the kids' attention long enough to give parents a much needed summer break. The 3D is impressive! I felt like I was really racing alongside the snails. The film offers a snails-eye view, an interesting perspective especially while racing. "Turbo" can't be compared to Pixar's movies, but even so, it's a rip-roaring adventure. Reviewed by Cassandra H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
I loved the movie "Turbo!" It is really fun and must have been an awesome movie to act in. This movie is an animated film about super-speed snail racing and features the voices of many different actors. Turbo is a lonely garden snail who is about to gain super speed powers and will race in the "Indy 500" which is meant for cars but, his amigo Tito didn't take "no" for an answer.
This is a fast-action movie where Turbo, who watches a speed race every night and idolizes Guy Gangnè who is the national champion racer. Turbo memorizes every line he says as well as the commercial for the drink: Adrenolade. One day, when he is working in the garden, a "big red" tomato falls on the other side of the garden where the lawn is being mowed. Turbo is so slow that he imagines he is the racer racing for the "big red" tomato. He does not make it to the tomato but he still goes on his own journey in the rain all alone. This is when everything starts to happen and Turbo receives his powers by a racing car's kind of gas.
The main characters are Turbo the snail (Ryan Reynolds), Tito (Michael Pena), Chet (Paul Giammati), White Shadow (Michael Bell), Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Smoove Mov (Snoop Dogg), Burn (Maya Rudolph) and Skid Mark (Ben Swartz). All these characters are great but my favorite and the one that stands out the most is Chet because he was pretty annoying and he is the one that puts most of the negativity into the movie. I thought it was really cool how the writer did that.
My favorite part is near the end where after Turbo loses all of his powers and then tries racing again at Dos Bros Tacos for everyone to see. All of a sudden, when it is almost time to race he gets all of his powers back in an amazing magical moment and it is really nice and cool. Turbo is really happy that he gains back his powers and speed.I recommend the movie to all ages for anyone who loves action-filled adventures and having fun. I also found this movie very cool and safe for children to watch. It has very funny characters and scenes. The moral of this story is that even though you are a small snail and have big dreams, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Reviewed by Stacy-Love B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews, go to kidsfirst.org
Even an old fart like me can appreciate animated films aimed at kids, so when my grown son and his wife decided it was time to take my 2 year old grandson to his first movie, I got to come along. The youngster is fascinated with cars, speed, color and reckless behavior. In other words a typical 2 year old boy.
In this DreamWorks production, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail fascinated by the Indianapolis 500. His goal is to break the world record by covering a meter in a day or something. His brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) tries to tell him he's not going to ever be fast, but Turbo isn't convinced and often rebels at his regular job of harvesting tomatoes. In a freakish accident Turbo is ingested into the engine of a street drag racer and while circulating among the pistons, inhales a goodly amount of Nitro methane injected into the fuel line. Magically, rather than by being killed, the poor mollusk takes on super snail speed. Enough speed that he can keep up with Indy cars.
With help from a Van Nuys taco bender named Tito (Michael Pena) and some obviously more hip snails he meets (Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, and Mike Bell) off they go to register for the 500. Once there he has to confront his hero and great French driver Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). As you would expect they have a mighty duel for 500 miles and an unsurprising finish.
"Turbo" is a bit light on adult humor but the kids are going to love it. As for my grandson, he and I were pretty much on the same page. When there was a lot of talking (human morals and expectations transferred to garden creatures) we were a bit antsy. When the action is going on and the sound is everywhere, we were paying attention. Seen with kids, the movie can be fun.
on November 20, 2013
This movie is now one of our family favorites! Very fun and engaging. Every family with little ones needs this title on their shelf!
Like Epic meets Cars. The odd kid out (Theo, a snail) has grand ambitions (car racing). Kind of predictable - a miracle transformation, vast odds, within inches of failure, stunning success, acceptance back home once he's proven himself. Plus a similar tale of redemption for his business partner. (If you think this is a spoiler, you need to see more movies.)
OK. you've seen it before, but your kid hasn't. Fun characracters, quality animation, excitement without being too scary (but you know your little one best), and pretty tolerable for the grownup buying the tickets. Three stars for you, five for the kid, I'm giving it four.
on December 31, 2013
Turbo is a fun movie to watch, especially for the younger audience. Adults may become a little bored with it about half way through the movie. Although the story is not very original, the animations and graphics are top notch, especially the scenes during the big race in the second half of the movie. The 3d is very well done, and there are more than a few scenes with very good "pop out". The rest of the time, the 3d depth is above average. Overall, I would recommend buying the 3d Turbo Blu ray for the visual experience, and definitely if you have younger kids.
on February 7, 2014
Turbo is a decent DreamWorks animated adventure film that has a great message about going after your dreams and achieving your goals, even when people tell you that it's not possible. The animation is good, it's DreamWorks, they know what they're doing. The voice acting is great with a huge cast of established stars who bring lots of personality to their characters (Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel Jackson, Snoop Dog, Bill Hader... and more).
Something else to keep in mind, possibly best of all, if it's a big hit with your kids and it comes into heavy rotation, it wont likely make you want to throw yourself into traffic. In my humble opinion that is one of the most important aspects of any movie targeted at my kids. How many times can it be on the background before I contemplate self injury to make the movie stop. :) There is enough going on that it's entertaining for adults as well.
The movie absolutely shares many themes with Cars. If it's a race animation picture... how could it not. In the end, it definitely can stand on it's own and while I wouldn't fork out $30 for this picture, if you can find it on sale I think it's something that you could definitely sit down for a family movie night and enjoy.
"Turbo" is another wonderful film for the entire family from Dreamworks Animation Studios. Directed by David Soren (Merry Madagascar) who also co-wrote this film with Darren Lemke (Jack The Giant Slayer, Shrek Foreverafter) and Robert D. Segal (The Wrestler, The Onion Movie). It starts and stay a ittle bit too long in first gear for the first 20 minutes, but then it picks up is pace and we'll have you laughing, cheering and sniffling a lot all the way to the end!
With such a heartfelt well-rounded cast, it has Ryan Reynolds (The Green Lantern, The Proposal) cast an over ambitious and extremely wishful snail wanting to be the fastest snail in the world. All he wants is to just enter, and of course win, the Indy 500. (Yes, he's a snail. Shell and all!) Now of course all his fellow snail friends and co-workers in the garden he works atand especially his brother Chet, voiced brilliantly by Paul Giamotti (Sideways, The Illusionist), all have a poor and somewhat pathetic opinion of Turbo.
By an act of nature (or chance) and the imaginary champion racer in his head Gay Gagne, voiced and performed artistically by Bill Hader (Suberbad, SNL), he is depressed and discouraged to the point where he teeters over an LA freeway in his rejection. Accidently falling and `fueling' his DNA up with some Turbo charged fluid after falling into a car he becomes FAST. Literally fast. Exceeding speeds of over 100 miles an hour! Now he Is kidnapped by a pair of Mexican brothers for `snail racing'.
The story then moves in a parallel line with that of two Mexican brothers (Tito and Angelo) trying to keep a Taco business alive in Van Nuys, CA. The older brother is having a tough time making ends meet while the younger brother keeps coming up with crazy schemes that never quite hit the mark. Tito is voiced sincerely by Michael Pena (The Shooter) who finds and really believes in Turbo and Angelo is voiced by Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights) who is more than skeptical of everything his brother does.
Enter literally a "gang" of snail that will not only encourage and motivate Turbo into pursuing and getting his dream of racing in the Indy 500, but then even help and push him into new heights of both latitude and of the heart. Samuel L. Jackson (Django, The Incredibles) leads the pack as pack with some hysterical sidekicks like Snoop Dog (Bruno), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaid) as Burn, Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) as Skidmark, Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher) as Bobby.
The story, as you guessed it, allows turbo to enter the Indy 500 and the rest is fast paced, intrigue, drama, action and a lot of near misses because his hero Guy is not quite a man you want anyone to look up too. The real villain is having a low self-esteem in yourself will only hold you back, however when his idol turns out to be something a lot less than he expected, Turbo's heart and drive is literally broken!
The movie is fun and it has a lot of California, specifically LA references that will crack you up! The racing sequences are amazing and the whole movie is very colorful just make sure you bring a tissue or two for the end. You'll probably want go and hug all your family members after the movie. This is for the family of all ages I loved this one! Turbo is `Turbo-Charged' with a heart!
on January 5, 2014
This is an entertaining little movie that kids will enjoy. The story of a snail who refuses to be "slow and steady" but lives for speed, Theo is like the "Little Engine Who Could." When he accidentally gets supercharges and can zoom along like the racer he wants to be, he changes from Theo to Turbo and attracts the part owner of Dos Bros Tacos who enters him in a snail racing contest and from there decides to enter him in the Indy 500 (or as he says, the "Indy 5000".) His brother snail is a nay-sayer, wanting Theo to settle for being what he is...a snail, but the other snails on the Snail Racing Circuit think he has what he takes. The characters are funny, the villain so broad there's no doubting he IS one, a couple of snails get scooped up by crows, and a few bugs hit the windshields, there's a couple of racing crashes but apparently everyone survives so the violence quotient is pretty low. It all boils down to "Believe in yourself even when others don't," and is something we all need to hear once in a while.
on January 18, 2014
I wasn't aware of Turbo when it was in theaters and do not recall any trailers for it. Being a fan of animated films I decided to give it a shot and I'm really glad I did.
Turbo isn't going to win any awards for being different, but it is still a very satisfying and fun film. I'm a big fan of Pixar and Disney, but I found Turbo to be more entertaining than either Cars film and Planes for that matter.
I thought the characters in Turbo looked a little generic, but after actually viewing the movie I was pleasantly surprised how polished the animation looked. The voice work is very good and for a 90 minute cartoon film, this movie flew by!
If you're looking for a family friendly animated film that is full of heart, then give Turbo a shot, it's one the better animated films of the year.
The Blu Ray looks and sounds fantastic and has some interesting extras.