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, badass snail 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 leader-board 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.