This is a movie about a snail that wants to be a race-car driver. That's got to be one of the least innovative plot-points to hang an entire movie on in recent memory, perhaps second only to the crop-duster with a fear of heights from Planes earlier this year. Living with his family and friends in a small tomato garden, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is constantly being told by his older brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) that his dreams are stupid, which, to be fair, they are. However, a freak accident involving Turbo falling into the engine of a souped-up street-car causes him to be endowed with the "powers" of a race-car, and so he heads off to compete in the Indy 500.
The major problem with Turbo is that there doesn't seem to be a point to its story. Is the message here that you should believe in yourself, no matter what the obstacle? Because Turbo only got where he was due to a freak accident, and not down to his own skills or will power. Is the message that you should put your own wants and needs ahead of all else, including the safety and well-being of everyone around you? Because Turbo destroys the tomato-patch home of his snail buddies while testing out his new powers. Whatever the message is here, it's not a good one, if it even has one to begin with.
The animation and visuals are pretty solid, with the film-makers going a good way to making snails actually seem kinda cute, and Reynolds does a good job injecting his character with some of his own natural charm and comic timing. The script ranges from quite funny to painfully obvious, and the supporting characters, while voiced by a killer, on-form cast - Samuel L Jackson, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, Michelle Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins - aren't individually interesting enough to be memorable.
Is there enough here to keep the kids entertained for an hour and a half? Absolutely. It's bright and loud and moves at a fair click. However, while accompanying parents may enjoy the momentary glimpses of quirky dark comedy thrown in here and there (every time a crow shows up on screen, for example), but most of the time, Turbo isn't an example of animated movies in top gear.
Review by Rory Cashin | 10:52 | Monday 7th October 2013 | Movie Review