TURBO (2013) : REVIEW

July 19, 2013


"My name… is Turbo. I just want to go a little faster."
Hollywood never stops. They animated cars, planes, safari animals, monsters, dragons, etc and then they had the thought of "How about we make a movie about a snail with the speed of formula one car? That'll be fun!" And so be it, with the help of Dreamworks Animation and director David Soren. Also, don't forget the (common and easy-digested) life lesson for all those kids out there who'll be watching : an underdog goes from zero to hero, a fine realization of the phrase "nothing is impossible". More to add, it comes in 3D with famous voices behind the characters; BAM! A kids magnet and a box office striker. So how was it? Keep reading.

Theo (Ryan Reynolds) is just an ordinary garden snail in suburban home in LA whose dream is to become fast and to compete in IndyCar 500 (a racing competition in Indianapolis), alongside with his idol Guy Gagné (Bill Hader). Believing that being fast is in his DNA (he even named himself Turbo), he then jumped on his chance on rescuing a giant tomato over a moving lawn-mower, only to end up almost getting killed in action. In despair, Theo then mourning over his failure, but then he got sucked up into a car's engine which was competing in an underground drag racing. Theo then inhaled too many nitrous oxide, causing his DNA to turn into a NOS pumper, making him super fast with some special abilities like headlights eyes, car alarm back, mouth radio player, and a glowing shell whenever he reeves up (or pumps up, whatever). Excited with his dream-come-true, Theo then went to tell his skeptical brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), to tell the good news, but then his brother got captured by a raven. Short story short, Theo managed to save his brother but then they were captured by a lousy taco-seller named Tito (Michael Peña) and be put in a snail-racing competition. Long story short, Tito then discovered Theo's special ability and decided to help Theo/Turbo to enter the IndyCar 500.

Illogical? You bet. Turbo offers nothing but a shallow plot and a thin story with flat approach and no specific character building. The humors were flat and everything was too predictable and 'easy'. The 96 minutes long felt like an ongoing 3 hours snail pace; very boring and highly uninspiring. I gotta say, the first quarter offered a clever world building, but then it just collapsed, loosen by some sort of stupidity and too-light goofyness. The effects were OK (though too much zooming) and the 3D was fine (though you can't expect something like Pacific Rim), but that just it. And was it just me or this movie felt too familiar with Pixar's "Cars" (ehm Starlight Plaza or Radiator Springs? *coughing*).

The voices behind the characters were ambitious, but not great. Ryan Reynolds's tone sometimes felt too light, not mixed well Turbo's over-excitement and that googly eyes and stupid expression. Bill Hader was throwing over-the-top accent, not charisma; he didn't seem diabolical, just being ambitious and narcissistic. Michael Peña was great, quite a scene stealer with that goofy accent and fat cheeks. The side characters were amusing, but that was it; slightly unforgettable. But, the true scene stealers here were Samuel L. Jackson (Whiplash) and Paul Giamatti; when Samuel being unbeliavably supportive leader, Giamatti was being skeptical and brotherly friendly with a predictable mind-changing on the three-quarter.

Finally said, Turbo was just another fun (and passing-by) animation with nothing to offer but lightness and child-giggling excitement. It was damn forgettable. It was like, "Wow, that snail is ... WHO?". Rental. Off to snoozeland!



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