This, the latest DreamWorks animation epic Turbo, offers gorgeous imagery (duh), a nifty star vocal cast, some sweet gags and a plot that, even by these proudly fantasy-heavy standards, is pretty damn silly. But anyway…
A garden snail named Theo or ‘Turbo’ (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) thinks that there’s more to life than moving very slowly to and from work every day collecting tomatoes in a suburban garden, and provides all sorts of headaches for his big brother Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti) as he enthuses about motor racing and the exploits of his speedway hero Guy Gagne (Bill Hader).
When he winds up on a freeway and is blown into a souped-up car engine taking part in an illegal drag-race, the liquid nitrogen causes his antennae to glow like headlights, classic rock station radio waves to sometimes play somewhere in his abdomen (best not to think where) and an ability to zap about at incredible speed. And, when he and the long-suffering Chet are caught by the kind-hearted Tito (Michael Peña), Turbo’s amazingness is first considered as a means to promote Los Dos Tacos, the in-trouble business Tito runs with brother Angelo (Luis Guzmán), but Turbo manages to convince Tito to enter him in the Indianapolis 500. And if you’re already leaping ahead and predicting that our snail hero will be competing with his idol Guy (and, um, spoilers, that Guy will turn out to be nasty), then you’ve seen waaaaaay too many kiddie pics.
Amusing and fun if not quite a classic, this effort from co-writer/director/co-voicer David Soren gets its biggest laughs from Tito’s gang of pro-racing and extreme-sporting snails that travel to the Indy 500 with Turbo and include leader Whiplash (Samuel L Jackson), Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg/Lion), Burn (Maya Rudolph), Skidmark (Ben Schwartz) and White Shadow (Mike Patrick Bell), a jumbo, bespectacled slug thoroughly convinced of its own ninja-like moves.