MRR Review: "Turbo"

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Movie Review: "Turbo"

Rating: PG
Length: 96 min
Release date: July 17, 2013
Directed by: David Soren
Genre: Animation, Family

"Turbo" is a family-friendly animated adventure that tells the story of Turbo, an average little snail with big dreams. Turbo lives in a universe where snails serve as the bedraggled workforce used to run the Plant, a tomato farm of sorts. Turbo, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, has a strong spirit that won't let him give up on his dream of becoming a great snail racer. His brother Chet, voiced by Paul Giamatti, is understandably concerned about this unrealistic goal and tries to persuade Turbo toward a more realistic path in life. When Turbo receives headlights in his eyes and the super speed of a 200-horsepower engine as a result of a freak accident, his dream suddenly becomes a possibility.

As the film progresses, Turbo competes in snail races against a bevy of colorful competitors. Tito and Angelo are brothers who enjoy watching and following the snail races, and once they discover Turbo's extraordinary gift, they quickly take him under their wing. He even gets to meet his idol, Guy Gagné, voiced by Bill Hader. Guy is a smooth-talking racing legend, and at the beginning of the film, it seems like he will be a great mentor for Turbo. Later on, Turbo must face the disappointment that his legend isn't all he seems, reinforcing the old adage that warns to never meet your heroes.

Disheartened but unwilling to give up, Turbo makes his way to the top of the snail racing scene. His greatest challenge and dream is to compete in the Indianapolis 500, but that's a tall order even for a lightning-fast snail. Turbo must call on the help of his new friends and his loyal brother to overcome new obstacles and achieve success that even he could never have dreamed of.

"Turbo" excels with its truly unique animated storyline. Unlike most animated stories, which recycle traditional plots and put their own spin on them, "Turbo" is refreshingly new. Turbo's courage and determination to pursue a goal that seems so far beyond his reach is a great message for a family film. While the film itself occasionally pokes fun at the idea of a snail winning such a major racing competition, the audience is left with the feeling that you really can accomplish anything if you put enough heart and hard work into it.

"Turbo" is also one of the most talked-about films in terms of animation. The rich, saturated colors help create and immerse viewers into the alternate world in which Turbo and his friends live. The film's use of scale is admirable as well. The characters in "Turbo" are small creatures in a big world, and it shows. From blades of grass to race cars, the snails interact with everyday objects in humorous ways, creating a whole new world out of the one we live in.

The voice acting in "Turbo" is some of the best in any recent animated film. Ryan Reynolds does a great job of making Turbo a sympathetic and humble character. Paul Giamatti's character, Chet, adds plenty of comic relief when the time calls for it. Even the supporting cast is star studded. Turbo's racing peers include snails voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Rudolph, and Snoop Lion. The film also makes nods to other films, such as "Spider-Man" and "Fast & Furious."

"Turbo" is a heartwarming story made up of equal parts of comedy and life lesson. Children will adore the vibrant animation and silly characters, but the film has plenty of nods to parents in the audience as well, making "Turbo" a film the whole family can enjoy together. Like Turbo himself, the beginning of the film starts out slow to establish its world and character dynamics, but it takes off with speed toward a surprising and satisfying finish.

"Turbo" is one of the most highly anticipated animated films of 2013, and for good reason. Truly unique storylines can often come off as disjointed and hard to follow without the tropes that audiences are used to, but "Turbo" manages to avoid that pitfall. The narrative contains enough familiarity for audiences to piece this new universe together, adding to a solid plot that is executed well from start to finish. The all-star voice cast is superb, and plenty of nods to other beloved films are a special treat for older audience members. Parents and kids alike will love the film's encouraging message about following your passions and putting in the hard work and training it takes to get where you want to go. For anyone tired of the same old storyline in family-friendly films, "Turbo" is a welcome change of pace.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5