Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Directed by David Soren.
2013. Rated PG, 96 minutes.
Mario Andretti

Ironically, Turbo (Reynolds) is a snail. He loves Formula One racing, especially his hero Guy Gagné (Hader) and wants nothing more than to go really fast. As you might imagine, being a snail makes this rather difficult. Still, a boy can dream. Unfortunately, that dreaming makes it hard for him to perform the mundane tasks of daily life. This includes doing his job for which he is under the supervision of his much more cautious brother Chet (Giamatti). Frustrated with life, Turbo finds himself looking over the freeway. Somehow he finds himself on it, barely surviving the harrowing ordeal. When he comes to, he discovers that his shell is suddenly a high-powered engine that enables him to travel at ridiculous speeds. One thing leads to another and Turbo and Chet wind up in the care of Tito (Peña), a taco salesman/snail racer with big ideas. Trying to get Turbo into the Indy 500 ensues.

Following Turbo on his quest is a fun adventure that is well paced and breezes by easily. The racing scenes are all exciting and should bring the youngsters to the edge of their seats as a decent amount of tension is created by them. The story between them holds together pretty well, also. As nonsensical as it sounds, we buy into it. We get caught up in whether or not this little snail can do the impossible.

Helping to sell all of this to us is a remarkable cast. To me, this begins with two wonderful actors doing superb voice work, Paul Giamatti and the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson. Both are just plain amazing. Giamatti provides a persistent naysayer who makes his opinions clearly known. Jackson brings his familiar persona to the role and somehow makes it all the way through the film without dropping F-bombs. Between the two of them, they get most of the movie’s best lines. However, they are not alone. Michael Peña, Bill Hader, Snoop, and Ken Jeong are all excellent, as well. Luis Guzman shines in the very nearly thankless role of Tito’s big brother Angelo, but not given nearly as much to do. All of them overshadow leading snail Ryan Reynolds. It’s not that he is bad, it’s that they are so good.

By the end, we have an easily graspable film about chasing your dreams and never giving up. This message is telegraphed pretty far in advance so that might lessen some of its potency, but it still works. Best of all, it’s not something we have to dwell on. Things are kept lighthearted enough so the kids don’t feel brow-beaten when it’s over. It stands a bit ahead of most animated kiddie fare, but is not quite special.

MY SCORE: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment