TURBO is a new family film that’s about a snail who gives himself the name, well, um Turbo. He hates being a snail, mainly because he hates being slow. You see, he watches a lot of race car driving on TV, and it’s his lifelong dream to be fast. Of course the other snails around think he’s a wacko, wanting to race. They think he should just accept who he is and stop dreaming. Well, one day he accidentally falls into an engine of a muscle car and swallows some NOS. For some magical reason, this doesn’t kill him, but makes him fast. He ends up getting noticed by some Mexcian dude named Tito, who works at a taco stand with his brother, where he meets some other racing snails. Tito gets the idea to enter Turbo in the Indy 500 so they can get money to help out his brother’s taco stand and the rest of the strip mall they set up shop in.
Honestly, I thought out of all the family films opening up this summer season, this looked like the best. It starts off amusing enough as Turbo times himself racing, and clocks in at 17 minutes. That was cute. There is something endearing about an underdog trying to accomplish something that is clearly not within his reach. There was also a couple funny moments of dark humor, like a running gag of a bird snatching a random snail character, and everyone just accepting it: “Oh, there goes Steve”. But that joke wears a little thin after the third time. After 15 minutes, the movie wears out its welcome, and the gimmick of a snail who has lightning speed gets old. It would be one thing if the characters were fresh, fun and original… but they’re not. This film is very generic.
Another thing that kind of surprised me was how a certain subplot of the film pretty much takes over the main plot. The story of Tito trying to save his strip mall and all the people who work there gets in the way of Turbo’s story. Tito is virtually using the snail for his own gain. Turbo, who is supposed to be the main character, ends up in the background for most of the second half. I found that kind of strange. The movie builds up to the big race at the end, but we don’t get any sense of how important this event is to Turbo. Also, when he first gets his speed, he has no idea how to control it. I think there should have been a training montage sequence showing him preparing for the race. But no, he just shows up and wins the race (oops, spoiler!).
It might sounded like I really hated the movie, but I didn’t. It’s just not anything special. It’s never a BAD movie. It’s just so safe and middle of the road. The story is inspirational, but the movie isn’t. The attempts at humor don’t really work either. I may have been amused by certain moments, but never laughed out loud (like I did several times in the much better DESPICABLE ME 2). Small kids will probably get a kick out of it, but parents will most likely be bored. I know I was. Even my 9 year old didn’t care for it. ★★ (out of ★★★★)
– Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements (but honestly, there is nothing objectionable in this movie. It should, without question, be rated G. The MPAA are a bunch of fucktards!)
– Running time 1hr 35min