Ryan Reynolds (“Green Lantern,” “The Proposal”) lends his voice to a little garden snail named Theo. During the day, he works with the many garden snails tending to the many tomatoes but by night he dreams of doing something no garden snail has ever dreamed: going a little faster than the average snail.
At night, he settles in front of the TV in the garage and partakes in the heart-racing world of race car driving. In particular, he aspires to become the next Indianapolis 500 champion and supplant current champion Guy Gagné, voiced by Bill Hader (“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”).
Tired of being subjected to the natural limitations of being a garden snail, and the speed limit that comes with it, he sets out one night and settles on an overpass, under the light of a wishing star.
“I wish. I wish I was fast,”-Ryan Reynolds as Turbo
As he was making his wish, Theo is swept away from the overpass and finds himself in a setting that has all of the hallmarks of a scene from a “Fast and Furious” movie. The ride would be short-lived though, as Theo is the victim of a freak accident involving nitrous oxide, which would change his life forever.
As soon as Theo returns to the garden, he suddenly exhibits strange abilities identical to features you would find in a suped-up speed wagon, emphasis on “speed.” Theo’s new abilities include highbeams from the eyes, a killer interior stereo and the horsepower, or to be more accurate super-speedy-snail-power, to hit 200 mphs in less than ten seconds and those new powers came in handy when he saved his brother Chet, voiced by Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man,” “Sideways”), from a small flock of crows.
Theo’s new powers, landed him and Chet across the path of a struggling taco-stand proprietor named Tito, voiced by Michael Peña (“End of Watch,” “Battle Los Angeles”), who coincidentally likes to race snails on the side. One night, Tito, his friends and their racing snails saw up-close what Theo can do and thanks to his new powers, he dons a name he has always kept to himself but now wears proudly.
“My name is Turbo,“-Ryan Reynolds as Turbo
Tito sees the potential in “Turbo” that no one else ever has and finally identifies with a group of snails who believe that Turbo is the real deal, led by Whiplash, voiced by Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained”).
Tito believes that Turbo could be the solution to the many problems the taco-stand and the surrounding struggling businesses are facing, so much so, he goes ahead with the business owners to Indianapolis so Turbo can fulfill his dream to compete in the Indy 500.
As the first snail to ever compete in a major car racing competition, Turbo and his crew enter as the ultimate underdogs but they have the speed to compete at the level of the pros but victory isn’t going to come easy.
So far this year, “Turbo” has turned out to be one of the best animated features in theaters and an underdog story that will be cherished by both children and adults.
Writer and director David Soren, did a nice job with his first major animated feature. “Turbo” is a well-assembled machine that is starts a bit slow, but really picks up the pace as it progresses. The screenwriting team of Soren, Robert D. Siegel (“The Wrestler”) and Darren Lemke (“Jack the Giant Slayer”) did a nice job with the story and the characters.
The vocal cast of Reynolds, Giamatti, Peña, Hader and the supporting characters of Luiz Guzman (“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”), Snoop Dogg (“Arthur and the Invisibles”), Maya Rudolph (“Away We Go”), Ben Schwartz (“The Other Guys”, Ken Jeong (“The Hangover”), Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”) and Michelle Rodriguez (“Battle: Los Angeles”) all prove to be very solid.
The quality factor of the film seems to be the parallels between Turbo and his brother Chet and Tito and his brother Angelo, voiced by Guzman. Chet and Angelo are grounded in reality, while Turbo and Tito are dreamers who believe that they can make their dreams reality while Chet and Angelo are total skeptics who believe their brothers can’t do it.
The snails and humans are all engaging characters in a story that everyone will eventually root for. It isn’t the best animated feature of the year, but it is certainly up there.
Children will enjoy this underdog story and parents will probably like this too, for it has a lot of humor and brings up the optimist out of its audience.
“Turbo” starts a little slow but picks up its pace as the story develops and it turns out to be an above-average film for the entire family to enjoy.