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Movie Review: Turbo

July 17, 2013

Turbo PosterTurbo – A 20th Century Fox Release

Release Date: July 17th, 2013

Rated G for animated action

Running time: 96 minutes

David Soren (dir.)

Darren Lemke (screenplay)

Robert D. Siegel (screenplay)

David Soren (screenplay)

Henry Jackman (music)

Ryan Reynolds as Turbo (voice)

Paul Giamatti as Chet (voice)

Michael Peña as Tito (voice)

Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash (voice)

Luis Guzmán as Angelo (voice)

Bill Hader as Guy Gagné (voice)

Snoop Dogg as Smoove Move (voice)

Maya Rudolph as Burn (voice)

Ben Schwartz as Skidmark (voice)

Richard Jenkins as Bobby (voice)

Ken Jeong as Kim Ly (voice)

Michelle Rodriguez as Paz (voice)


©20th Century Fox.  All Rights Reserved.

Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) races against the cars in Turbo.

Our reviews below:


Turbo Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Although the premise of Turbo is totally ridiculous, the film itself is actually quite amusing, a harmless piece of animated escapism from DreamWorks that kids will love and adults won’t mind watching.  This is the sort of big screen cartoon that could easily be watched on a Saturday morning, and for that the film provides goodnatured entertainment for those of literally any age.

Much to the chagrin of his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), Theo (Ryan Reynolds) spends his mundane life as a garden snail dreaming about following in the footsteps of his hero Guy Gagné (Bill Hader), a French Canadian race car driver.  The problem is that snails aren’t inherently fast, but when he ventures out of the garden and gets sucked into the motor of a car running on Nitrous Oxide, the little mollusk with big dreams becomes a speeded up racer.  Adopted by the bighearted Tito (Michael Peña), who needs money to update the Mexican restaurant that he runs with his own brother Angelo (Luis Guzmán), Theo changes his name to Turbo and becomes a celebrity when he signs up to race against cars in the Indy 500.

Although the overall premise is admittedly unique, the narrative beats of the actual story are nothing we haven’t seen before.  The story is predictable and not really groundbreaking, but these things certainly won’t bother the target audience of kids, and the brisk running time of 96 minutes offers enough in the way of agreeable entertainment for those of all ages.  The animation is nicely textured, with the small details of the snails popping out against the impressively hazy backgrounds of the human world.  The main characters are appealing and the cast is made up of talented actors, with the distinctive voice of Ryan Reynolds sounding just as endearing as the adorable title character that he brings to life.

When I saw Turbo, the kids in the theatre all clapped at the start of the credits, and you can’t really argue with a recommendation like that when the film in question is one targeted at the younger members of the audience.  With cute characters and good visuals, Turbo is a fun animated film that provides harmless entertainment for kids and has enough clever scenes to keep adults amused.


Turbo Review by Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

This newest film from DreamWorks Animation, is fun summer entertainment for families.

Turbo is about a common garden snail named Theo (Ryan Reynolds) who longs to be a famous racer like those he sees on TV in the Indy 500.  Much to the dismay of his older brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), Theo renames himself ‘Turbo’ and practices racing along a yard stick daily (his current record being 17 minutes).  Meanwhile, the other snails are all just trying to work in the tomato garden where they live and don’t have time for Turbo’s ridiculous dreams.

One night though, Turbo finds himself above a highway watching the traffic, and after getting knocked down by a truck he finds himself stuck inside the engine of a sports car.  While inside he gets Nitrous Oxide all over him and somehow (just suspend disbelief on this one) he becomes part car.  His eyes light up like headlights, he can play a radio out of his head, he has back up signals, and he can now go super fast.

When he and his brother are captured by a guy named Tito (Michael Peña) who runs a taco place, he is brought into the world of ‘snail racing’ – where people pit snails against each other in a slow-motion race environment.  But when Turbo’s new skills are discovered, he just might make his dream of racing the Indianapolis 500 after all.

The movie is far-fetched, but also amusing.  It is sure to be enjoyed by families, and is one that can be seen by anyone who’s old enough to sit still in a theatre to watch it.  The animation is good as to be expected, and at 96 minutes, it goes by at just the right pace.


Turbo Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Turbo is a funny and cute movie about never giving up.  Theo (Canada’s Ryan Reynolds) is a garden snail with a dream.  He wishes to become a racer in the Indy 500, much like his idol, French Canadian racer Guy Gagné (literally translating to Winning Dude, voiced by Bill Hader).  Theo is tired of working at The Plant, a tomato plant filled with overripe fruit, under the eye of his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti).  But Theo’s wish comes true when he accidentally falls into the tank of a souped up street racer.

Now turbocharged with Nitrous Oxide, he and Chet manage to escape three crows who try to eat them.  One hits a bus offscreen, but not to worry, the trio of birds return unharmed and in a helpful way.  Theo and Chet get picked up by Tito (Michael Peña), co-owner of Dos Bros Tacos and snail enthusiast.  Tito races snails as a hobby, and hopes Theo, who now calls himself Turbo, can race in the Indy 500 and bring Dos Bros Tacos back from the brink.  But as Theo and Tito become famous, where does that leave their brothers Chet and Angelo (Luis Guzmán), who now feel pushed to the sidelines?

This is an entertaining, lighthearted comedy.  Sure it’s predictable, but it’s also harmless fun.  I really liked the parallels between the brother pairs, Theo and Chet as well as Tito and Angelo.  And as someone who loves snail watching, I loved the adorable snail characters.  Turbo is a fun family movie that everyone can enjoy.


Turbo Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Two sets of brothers, some big dreams, lots of colourful snails and a shot of Nitrous Oxide set Turbo off to the races in an entertaining movie that the whole family can enjoy.

Theo/Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is an ordinary garden snail with an extraordinary dream – he wants to be fast like his hero, French Canadian race car driver Guy Gagné (Bill Hader).  Theo’s life is anything but fast.  His days are spent in the garden with his safety conscious brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) as they harvest tomatoes with the other hardworking snails.  After an encounter with an evil lawnmower, Theo wanders off and finds himself in the middle of a Nitrous Oxide fuelled street race.  Every cell in his little snail body becomes supercharged and Theo becomes Turbo, the super fast snail.

Meanwhile across town, taco truck driver Tito (Michael Peña) is pursuing his dream of turning the snail races he participates in with fellow plaza business owners (Richard Jenkins, Michelle Rodriguez and Ken Jeong), into much needed publicity for Dos Bros Tacos, the restaurant he owns with his more practical minded brother, Angelo (Luis Guzmán).  When Tito finds Chet and Turbo on the road, he can’t believe his luck once he discovers that Turbo is really fast.  Since this is a colourful cartoon world, it all makes sense when Turbo ends up at the Indy 500, racing against his hero Guy Gagné.  Without spoiling anything, it’s safe to say this is a movie that’s all about dreaming big and dreams coming true.

Turbo is predictable, colourful and energetic fun.  The storyline is easy to follow, the snails are all quirky and cute, and the action sequences at the Indy race are a lot of fun.  The animation is well done as is the voice acting.  Though many Canadians will be asking themselves, was that supposed to be a French Canadian accent?  Bill Hader’s Guy Gagné sure didn’t sound French to me, however this won’t matter to the kids watching.

This is still a lot of fun and the youngsters in the theatre where I saw Turbo laughed throughout and clapped when it was over.  A good time was had by all.  Turbo is a fun choice for families, especially with younger kids.


Turbo Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Turbo is the name taken by a garden snail (Ryan Reynolds) whose obsession with the Indy 500 is ridiculed by his fellow snails and an embarrassment to his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti). While on a midnight stroll, he is sucked into a dragster and drowned in NOX, emerging as an Indy class racing machine. Turbo and Chet are discovered by Tito (Michael Peña) who with his brother Angelo (Luis Guzmán) has a taco stand in a run down strip mall shared by a hobby shop, car mechanic and manicurist (Richard Jenkins, Michelle Rodriguez, Ken Jeong). Tito and his racing snails led by Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson) decide to enter Turbo in the big race, where the one to beat is the French Canadian Guy Gagné (Bill Hader).

Given its totally ridiculous premise, Turbo has a somewhat predictable storyline that will especially appeal to children. For the rest of us, it is watchable enough with some interesting interactions between the snail and human worlds. In general Turbo is well produced, and despite Hader’s accent the voice cast is fine, earning a mild recommendation overall.


Consensus: Although the actual story follows a predictable path, Turbo is a harmlessly entertaining animated film from DreamWorks, offering enough likeable characters and good visuals that will amuse audiences of all ages.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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