Turbo (2013)

Turbo (2013)

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Guess which one's Samuel L Jackson. Go on, guess.
Guess which one’s Samuel L Jackson. Go on, guess.

Twitter Plot Summary: A common garden snail wants to be an Indy 500 racer. Then a freak accident means he can do it. Of course it does.

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy/Family/Sport

Director: David Soren

Key Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel L Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Mike Bell

Five Point Summary:

1. Just a simple snail, wanting more from life. So it goes.
2. Woot, Samuel L Jackson playing a very black snail. Sllightly suspect.
3. Guy Gagne. Smug git.
4. Srsly, a snail racing Indy 500 cars looks (and is) stupid.
5. And there’s the resolution everybody knew was going to happen. Sigh.

I’m starting to think that the people who make animated films for kids are clutching at straws when looking for plots. Take this film for example – an ordinary garden snail has aspirations of being a race car driver, so naturally he’s turned into a super fast snail after being infused with nitrous oxide. Yeah, see where I’m coming from? After receiving his powers Turbo finds himself in a beaten up retail court that desperately needs cash. Luckily for him he’s found by Tito, the youngest of two brothers running a taco restaurant. The other brother, incidentally, is played by Luis Guzman who’s clearly making a play to be the modern day Cheech Marin – that’s fine with me, for the record. Once you get over the fact the story is about a snail racing against Indy 500 cars, it’s not a bad family film. The relationship between Turbo and his brother is the best thing in it, although his initial insistence on talking Turbo down from his aspirations goes on for a little too long, making his ultimate about-face (because it was always going to happen) seem slightly contrived.

There’s even some fun gags around the life of snails in general – the risk of being crushed by kids on tricycles, or being eaten randomly by crows – although these could have maybe been expanded upon. There’s also plenty of entertainment value in the crew of racing snails, led by Samuel L Jackson no less, who are basically a slimey version of the Fast and Furious posse. Just to reinforce the link, Michelle Rodriguez voices one of the human characters dragged along on the adventure – she’s a mechanic, naturally. There’s also a nice recurring gag of big slug White Shadow saying his own name in hushed tones.

Yep, this actually happens.
Yep, this actually happens.

The animation is also top notch. I didn’t watch it in 3D as the screening schedule didn’t fit with my own, however I could see it being reasonably entertaining with a little more depth to the image, in particular the race scenes. In fact as far as the animation goes I can’t really fault it. The snails look cool, the world is nicely realised and the Indy 500 racing is (probably) as good as the real thing. Except with a high speed snail. Thankfully they decided to give him a neon blue trail, otherwise those race scenes would’ve got boring really quickly. It’s also very keen to point out that your heroes may not be all you expect them to be, so you need to make your own way. A decent message for the younger audience, although it’s maybe not made as clear as it could’ve been.

I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, but it’s good enough. There’s plenty here for the kids to enjoy, and just about enough to keep the adults entertained. If nothing else you can play the game of Guess the Voice Actor, because it’s a veritable treasure trove of famous names. The story is a definite misfire, but that’s from an adult perspective – the target audience will lap it up. Pun intended.

Favourite scene: The snails being arbitrarily picked off by crows in the garden.

Quote: “Here one moment, gone the next! I’m so fast you can only see my shadow. White Shadow!”

Silly Moment:  It’s a really, really fast snail – how much sillier do you want?

Score: 2.5/5

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