Turbo

Out Now On-Demand

He's fast, they're furious.

From DreamWorks Animation (Shrek, Madagascar), a high-velocity family comedy about a garden snail who miraculously attains the power of super-speed and a shot at his impossible dream: to win the Indy 500. Voice cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson.

Dreamworks takes the “I want to be a Kung Fu master – but I’m a Panda” formula and replaces it with: “I want to be a race car – but I’m a snail.” The result is a “no dream’s too big, no dreamer too small” tale that, whilst it ain’t up to Disney/Pixar standards, borrows liberally from their back catalogue. Think A Bug's Life in Cars, with bits of Ratatouille thrown in.

Lack of originality and thin story aside, the voice cast capture the naïve idealism needed to pull of a tale of the little gastropod that could compete in the Indy 500 - with the help of his friends and a shell full of nitrous oxide. As Turbo, Ryan Reynolds is ably backed by the likes of Paul Giamatti (as his brother, Chet), Samuel L. Jackson (as possibly the coolest snail in cinema history), Michelle Rodriguez and, er, Snoop Dogg (as Smoove Moove.)

The animation’s ok, the 3D barely noticeable, but the third act race has the requisite whizz and there’s a fair splattering of slapstick to amuse little ones. Not much for grown ups, and the lack of ideas leads to wholesale pinching from other movies as opposed to the clever homage of Dreamworks’ own Shrek.

At the finish line? It’s a solid family movie diversion that won’t offend or disappoint on its premise of a motoring mollusc. As for why they bothered? Well, as Smoove Moove tells Chet when he asks if hitching a ride on a snail-snacking crow’s really necessary, “No, but where's the fun in that?”

Dissolve (USA)

press

The film's emotional beats are no less potent for being expected, thanks to the ground-level focus on the human-snail relationships that fuel them.

Hollywood Reporter

press

An attractively designed but narratively challenged, one-note film.

New York Times

press

Even in the absence of originality, there is fun to be had, thanks to some loopy, clever jokes.

Time Out New York

press

All Turbo does is give Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson and Snoop Dogg the easiest paychecks they'll ever make.

Variety (USA)

press

The film's considerable charm comes through via its characters and sense of humor.

A slug is just a homeless snail

Turbo is what you’d expect and little else. Aside from turning the laws of both physics and biology on their heads Turbo attempts to teach kids valuable life lessons because as parents, we are all flatulent, bobble-headed failures. It’s a wonder children don’t frequently explode in the street from parental ineptitude. Fortunately, Dream Works and 20th Century Fox are here to educate and mould our children into well balanced adults that understand that a garden snail can not only talk but, if just the right amount of nonsense happens he’ll excrete neon blue slime at an alarming rate.

OK, all joking aside Turbo really is what you’d expect from a kids movie about a talking snail that wants nothing more to be more than he is.

As far as animated fare goes, this is up there. But without an original theme and with a fairly mundane story-line it helps to forget everything you have ever learned about the world before watching this one with your kids. And prepare yourself for the obligatory 20 questions from your ankle bitters.

My rating is based on the brain cells required to watch the movie: 2 (actually you only need one but it may pay to have another to make sure your body’s biological operations don’t stop).