Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail who dreams of being a racing driver, but he’s just not fast enough. When he’s involved in a freak accident he gets the power of super speed and is adopted by a taco restaurant owner (Paul Giamatti), who plans to enter Turbo into a formula 1 race to save the restaurant.
This is basically Fast and Furious for kids, and instead of sexy ladies there are sexy snails (pictured). It’s a pretty run-of-the-snail kids film, with a few funny bits, but not enough. It features a well stocked cast of voice actors, from Ryan Reynolds as Turbo, to Samuel L Jackson, who is even typecast as a snail, playing bald, black, badass Whiplash. Ok, so all snails are bald, but you know what I mean.
Snoop Dogg, who also features, said of his role “I always wanted to be connected to animated movies and to have a role like this where I could be a snail.” He plays the weirdest snail (the one on the left with the thin neck). Given his commitment to his reggae persona I wouldn’t be surprised if he lived as a snail for a month to get into character, or convinced himself he was a snail in a past life. Documentary coming soon, I hope.
One thing that stands out about Turbo is the obvious love of formula 1 by its writers. I’m sure a 200 lap race is standard in professional driving, but did we really need it as the climax of a kid’s movie, particularly when only three or four laps are actually shown? The leaderboard in the stadium, again, is probably true to life, showing positions in the race by number of car, but unless you remember which number Turbo is it’s needlessly confusing. I wish they’d applied the same level of accuracy to other areas. I’d like to have seen Turbo taken to a lab and experimented on.
As animated snail movies go, this does what you’d expect but little more, feeling like generic family fare rather than a revolution in animated hilarity. Its underdog theme is lost in the absurdity of its premise, as the snail has to be involved in a freak accident to have any chance of success, leaving a likeable movie which is easily forgotten.