Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — With a year that has so far yet to deliver an amazing animated adventure (many closer to average versus last year’s crowded field) to separate from the rest of the pack, Pixar may yet have one of the most lopsided chances for best feature if a dark horse doesn’t emerge in the fall. Still, if anything can be said about today’s submission from DreamWorks Animation, the very familiar elements it borrowed from previous classics makes it at least fun and humorous enough to enjoy.
The poster obviously parodies concepts like the “Fast & Furious” franchise, but as far as the story alone, one could best compare it to “Cars” meets “Ratatouille” and mix in an accidental exposure to chemical superhero story in a world of squish happy humans. It’s a bit less inspiring for adults than some of the studios previous efforts, but it actually took a world I found boring in “NASCAR” and held my attention for more than a single left turn. “Turbo” attempts to be a witty entry with laughs that poke fun at the doldrums of a formulaic life and yet could benefit could stand to benefit from a little more investment on making the characters a bit more endearing.
Starting at a less than frenetic pace in a garden in Venice, audiences are introduced to a colony of common garden snails. Well, all except for Theo/Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), who wants to be a professional racer just like his human race car idol Guy Gagne (Bill Hader).
Despite a constant barrage of being mocked by all the other snails and efforts by his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) to give up what he sees as a silly dream, not even the constant threat of death seems to derail Turbo. Just when the dream may be closest to shriveling up, our hero comes in contact with a life changing event where he is gifted with the very tool he’s been wishing for all along, speed. Thus follows an improbable rise to stardom starting with his discovery by a taco delivery truck driver named Tito (Michael Peña) who buys into the snail’s ambitions and takes him to the Indianapolis 500.