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Movie Review: ‘Turbo’

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While Pixar Animation Studios is continuing on the comeback trail, it seems as if DreamWorks has stepped up ready to replace The Disney-owned company’s streak of greatness. After Cars 2, Pixar is headed in the right direction with Brave and Monsters University. However, DreamWorks keeps cranking out the goods — so long as they aren’t featuring a certain green ogre and friends or a menagerie of wild animals.

TurboEven with their own fair share of upcoming sequels, DreamWorks is taking the Toy Story approach and making sure that their sequels outdo the originals. Since 2008, DreamWorks has treated us to two Kung Fu Pandas, Monsters vs Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, Puss in Boots, Rise of the Guardians, and The Croods — with this weekend’s Turbo, the winning streak continues, making nine fantastic films in just five years’ time.

Turbo is actually the nickname of Theo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), a garden snail who wants to be fast. His brother Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti), wishes Theo would stop watching Guy Gagné’s (voiced by Bill Hader) Indianapolis 500 races on an even more endless loop than the race itself. After Chet has to save Theo from being mulched by the home’s gardening team’s lawnmower, Theo takes off for a sulky night on the streets of California. It is here where he falls onto the hood of a street racer’s car and winds up getting sucked into the engine and blasted with nitrous oxide, altering his DNA — superhero style. Now Theo has transformed into a car in the form of a snail, complete with eyes as headlights, a light up shell, and the ability to blast music like a radio.

When Chet is attacked by a crow, Theo rescues him with his newfound speed, causing them to be captured by Tito (voiced by Michael Peña). Tito drives a taco truck he operates with his brother Angelo (voiced by Luis Guzmán), “Dos Bros Tacos.” Tito happens to be part of a strip mall snail racing circuit featuring other snails named Burn (voiced by Maya Rudolph), Skid Mark (voiced by Ben Schwartz), Smoove Move (voiced by Snoop Dogg or Lion), White Shadow (voiced by Mike Bell), and the leader, Whiplash (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Tito realizes Theo’s amazing race abilities and wants to enter him in the Indy 500. He manages to talk his fellow shop owners — Bobby (voiced by Richard Jenkins), Kim-Ly (voiced by Ken Jeong), and Paz (voiced by Michelle Rodriguez) — to chip in for the entry fee and it’s off to the races.

Turbo2Director/co-writer David Soren have created a fully developed world for his loveable snails in their garden. Along with co-writers Darren Lemke and Robert D. Siegel (Big Fan, The Wrestler), Soren keeps the jokes flying fast and furious, along with some fun action sequences along the way. The voice cast is having a ball—with even Snoop Dogg sounding more alert than ever—and the Spanish characters never fall into racist stereotypes. The exception here is almost Kim-Ly, but thankfully the character is kept to a minimum.

Turbo is said to be followed by a Netflix series called Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team)—releasing in December—which, from the title, sounds like a hilarious companion piece. However, after catching a few minutes of the Monsters vs Aliens TV show, I wonder if it’s really a good idea. There is plenty to capitalize on here, but a cheap TV show doesn’t seem to be the best option. There is plenty of room for a new franchise to breathe on the big screen, and Turbo is a much-needed hilarious entry for everyone this summer, particularly the starving for entertainment, family-oriented crowd.

Photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.