Turbo is a 2013 animated comedy film directed by David Soren and with the voice work consisting of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti and Michael Pena. It is one of DreamWorks’ most clichéd films.
It is about a snail who dreams of participating in racing and one day his dreams come true and he becomes faster and ends up going on a race and naturally winning. This is such a poor story that I cannot believe how they even managed to make it like this. It is just so familiar and such a giant cliché that it is just frustrating to watch. But the problem isn’t that, but the execution which is always typical with every plot point being expected and predictable. It is one of the most predictable films from the company with the happy ending being just obnoxious.
The characters are okay. Turbo is so typical and his dream is also very tired along with his high energy which gets annoying quickly. Chet is better, but still a typical friend that serves as a voice of reason. Tito Lopez is the finest of the bunch and the rest of the snail crew I really did like with Whiplash in particular being hilarious. Guy is such a tired villain and the rest of the Latino characters are okay, but forgettable. I did like that they went with the Latino characters as they are so underrepresented in animated films, but they still went an obvious route with them.
The acting is fine. Ryan Reynolds is really good once again after his good turn as Guy in ‘The Croods‘ thus proving to be a fine actor for them. Paul Giamatti is also really good and Michael Pena is tolerable, but I am still not a fan of his. But Samuel L. Jackson is absolutely fantastic and the main source of this movie’s humor as he is so funny and wonderful as Whiplash.
Yes, the humor is the chief reason to see Turbo, there is no doubt about that. It isn’t great and is mostly forced or expected, but when it’s good, it is really good and it made me laugh a lot. As I said, Jackson is hilarious, but the protagonist also has his fine lines and White Shadow is also pretty funny. The dynamic relationship and dialogue between the snails is phenomenal as it’s so energetic, quite funny and overall really well realized. But there are still some moments that were incredibly forced or cheesy.
The animation is another strong reason to see the film. It is terrific, it really is. Everything here looks good – the snails are really well animated due to some fine character design, the backgrounds are wonderful and the colors are well utilized. The cars are amazing and they look so good and professional. The animation of the cars, stadiums and other technical stuff is just breathtaking and so detailed and smooth.
Turbo has the advantage of the fantastic animation of the cars, something that Pixar sorely lacked with their ‘Cars’. But overall, this movie is way inferior to that one as instead of having an original, different ending, this one has a stupid finale where the hero wins the race and that is just so boring, unsophisticated and even unfathomable by this point. That was just unwatchable how awfully cheesy it was.
The imagery is fine, but the directing is weak as is the editing. The acting is good and the film is good technically with particularly impressive action sequences. Yes, the racing scenes are typical, but everything before that is entertaining and really well executed with some action scenes being very well filmed and nicely executed. The tone is bad as it is too comedic. It is always too formulaic and predictable while also being quite forgettable. The dialogue is also uninspired with some clever lines though. As for emotional investment, it is mostly there, but too present and mostly cheesy. The attention to detail is good with the cars and its properties, but I disliked the scene in which Theo gets his powers because it is an overly familiar take on the superhero origin story. The humor is good and some characters are fine, but the score also surprised me as the movie had its fine musical moments. Turbo is in the end far from a bad movie, but it isn’t particularly good either. It is an okay, passable diversion that is a step down from DreamWorks Animation’s previous two features, but is on par with many of their earlier films. It is also great that they haven’t made a bad movie through most of this decade, but they also haven’t made a truly great one as well and that is unfortunate.
Turbo is such a giant cliché of a movie. Everything in here is just so predictable, so formulaic and so tired and uninspired with every plot point being expected and familiar. But it does have its strengths mainly the action which is quite good at times, the animation which is terrific and the humor is pretty good with some really funny lines. But the plot, the characters and the ending are all boring and typical which is why this is far from a good movie, but is still not bad and is an okay diversion.
My Rating – 3