Animated Movies, DreamWorks, Reviews, Studios, Uncategorized

DreamWorks Countdown 27: ‘Turbo’

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27 - Turbo

I like to think of Turbo as the little (car) engine that could. With his super speed, he defies the odds and achieves his dream of living in the fast lane as a racer.

However, he wasn’t always speedy. When Turbo opens, the little snail is completely ordinary, and that’s where his problem lies– he doesn’t want to be another garden snail, and he despises the slow pace of his life. His defiance against the very nature of being a snail makes him quite the headache for his brother, Chet, who wishes he would simply accept his lot in life in the tomato garden.

Turbo’s speed is gained when he is knocked into the engine of a car and infused with nitrous oxide. His unusual ability goes on to make him the talk of Starlight Plaza, a strip mall that has seen better days, and eventually the world. Turbo would’ve never ended up at the plaza with Chet if not for Tito, the driver of a taco truck who captured them for snail races. It is at one of these races that Turbo meets Whiplash and his posse of racing snails, including Smoove Move, Burn, Skidmark, and White Shadow.

Eventually, Tito enters Turbo in the Indianapolis 500, where the superstar snail meets his hero, Guy Gagne. Unfortunately, Guy is not the upstanding person Turbo expected, and he injures Turbo during the race, thereby lessening his super speed. He goes on to loose the power completely near the end of the race but manages to win. Later, Turbo’s super speed is restored once he heals from his injuries.

Turbo-DreamWorks

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Turbo is the setting– when operating from a snail’s perspective, everything, from a tomato to a race track, is bigger and more spectacular. I especially enjoy how the Starlight Plaza strip mall, which would be a mundane, lackluster environment in any other film, is an immersive world of it’s own due to Turbo’s point of view. The garden setting, too, is vibrant, and it’s fun to get a glimpse into the tomato-harvesting lives of snails.

The designs of Turbo and the racing snails are delightful, as each character has their own eye-catching color palette and drag racing inspired shell. Also, the snails’ voice actors are respectable, with Ryan Reynolds as Turbo, Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash, Maya Rudolph as Burn, and Snoop Dogg as Smoove Move. Among the human characters are Michael Pena as Tito, Bill Hader as Guy Gagne, Michelle Rodriguez as the mechanic Paz, and Ken Jeong as manicurist Kim-Ly.

Of course, Turbo’s message of chasing your dreams despite the challenges and the disapproval of others is one that all can relate to. It’s a classic underdog story, but it’s told in an original way. Though small, Turbo serves as a big inspiration to all who have an ambitious goal and a lot of passion.

What do you think of Turbo?

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About Hannah Ortega

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Hannah found Star Wars, Disney, and Marvel, and a fangirl force was awakened inside her. Hannah’s favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Aladdin. Movies such as these inspire her writing, which is her biggest passion. Hannah is an aspiring author and journalist, as well as a Christian, a horseback rider, and a cross country runner.

  • Alex Beezley

    While I enjoy this film more than most people, I can’t help but think Turbo was a direct result of the success of Cars. In my opinion, this is not as enjoyable as the first Cars, and it feels very derivative of the 2006 film. Of course the plot is very ridiculous as well, but that is to be expected of DreamWorks comedies. That being said, I did like the human characters and the animation in this film and there are many aspects that would appeal to children, who, after all, are the film’s target audience. This is far from DreamWork’s worst film, but it does not come close to reaching the heights of its best work.

  • Manuel Orozco

    You summed up the strengths of Turbo big time. It’s colorful, action packed and inspiring. I always found it corny however when Tito thinks Chet is Theo’s girlfriend. Talk about gay innuendo. The story is a snail version of Cars and Ratatouille rolled into one.

  • Amber Dvorak

    While the story sounds earnest and the snail’s point-of-view thing might be fun, this is one that just never grabbed me. But kudos to DreamWorks for trying another original property instead of one of its many sequels, even if it does sound rather derivative.