Review: “Turbo” storyline is sluggish

July 18th, 2013 at 11:42 pm by under Entertainment
"Turbo" poster courtesy DreamWorks

“Turbo” poster courtesy DreamWorks

“Turbo” (2013)
Rated: PG for some mild action and thematic elements
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Genre: Animated/Family

My spoiler-free review:

This movie would have been better if it was 30 minutes shorter.  Whatever the minimum runtime to classify as a feature length film… they should have cut it down to that length and this movie would do better with adults… and kids…. I give it 6.0 out of 10.

The movie suffers from a middle that drags… the beginning was a solid introduction of characters and the end with the big race was a pretty good resolution.  So it seemed like they had to find something to stretch it out and fill the timeframe.   We know its hard to get some kids to sit still for more than a half-hour… but “Turbo” went from interesting to boring to interesting again…. if you cut down the middle part – developing the backstory of the human characters and getting to the big race – we all would have left a little happier.

The animation is good, not great.  Luckily, Ryan Reynolds (Turbo) and Paul Giamatti (Chet) are great as the voices of the main characters – sibling garden snails… we get to see a happy animated version of their world, similar to “A Bug’s Life” or “Antz”.  There is conflict with the worker snails while Turbo just wants to be a racer and have adventures, plus there’s the dangers of the lawn mower and the kid on the big wheel with a juice box that just wants to run over bugs.

You had me.   You humanized snails and made me interested in their world and their problems.   We were moving right along, interested in the story and how Turbo is trying to fit in, despite wanting more and then dealing with being different in another way and coping with these changes that turn him into a super fast snail.

But… then you introduced the human characters and how they fit in the story and the plotline and we spend way too much time on them… and away from the snails.  The movie … slows… way…. down.. and… gets.. boring.   The movie’s title is  not “Turbo and Tito the taco boy”… its about Turbo… the snail with a dream to go fast.    We’ve seen guys selling tacos out of a food truck before, and the younger brother with dreams of racing snails (what? yes.. snail racing, I know its ridiculous, but lets get back to the point)… every moment we are no longer watching Turbo and his snail pals, we became disinterested and tune out!!

And… This movie had some unneccesary stereotypes – Why does Whiplash – the Samuel L. Jackson voiced snail have to be black?  Why do the taco business brothers Tito (Michael Peña) and (Angelo) Luis Guzmán have to be so cliche?  Why is Ken Jeong voicing the character of an Asian woman?   These are not the clever and unforgettable animated characters like we saw in Oscar winner “Rango” (2011) or Oscar nominee “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012).  This is the lesser racing movie compared to “Cars” (2006)… just like “Shark Tale” (2004) compared to “Finding Nemo” (2003) … or “Antz” compared to “A Bug’s Life” (1998).

Also… I’m worried a lot of kids will see this movie and start collecting the slimy creatures that inhabit the world of “Turbo”.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):


Voices Of: Ryan Reynolds (Turbo), Paul Giamatti (Chet), Michael Peña (Tito), Luis Guzmán (Angelo), Bill Hader (Guy Gagné), Richard Jenkins (Bobby), Ken Jeong (Kim-Ly), Michelle Rodriguez (Paz), Maya Rudolph (Burn), Ben Schwartz (Skid Mark), Kurtwood Smith (The CEO), Snoop Dogg (Smoove Move), Samuel L. Jackson (Whiplash), Aidan Andrews (Big Wheel Boy), Mike Bell (White Shadow)

Director: David Soren (1st feature length director job, directed non-theatrical Madagascar spin-offs, writer for Shark Tale)

The Plot: A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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