Review: Turbo

This review was originally posted on Punch Drunk Critics

Have you ever noticed in animated kids films how they spend so much time on how it’s fine to be different and not part of the crowd? They really do a good job these days of smartly making movies where the theme is that it’s ok to be different and it’s ok to have big dreams to be anything you can be. The thing is, even though the heart is in the right place sometimes the quality of the movie isn’t. That’s what we have here this week with Turbo by David Soren from DreamWorks Animation.

Turbo is about a garden snail named Theo who dreams of being one of the greatest Indy race car drivers in the world. This causes him to be an outcast in his community of snails that live in a human’s tomato garden. After an accident in which he falls into a street race car engine and infused with Nitrous Oxide, which makes him more car than snail, and he has to leave his home, ending up in an LA strip mall. There a young man named Tito who co-owns a taco restaurant and food truck with his chef brother Angelo takes him in. Tito always has crazy ideas to promote the business that never work. At Theo’s suggestion, Tito’s goal is to enter the speedy snail in the Indy 500 to race against human drivers.

??    So the thing with this movie is that it’s basically entertaining enough. It was like sitting though an average Saturday morning cartoon for an hour and a half. Not something really creative like Adventure Time or excellent like The Last Airbender series but something like Johnny Test. You’ll sit and you’ll laugh at some stuff and the plot movies at a decent pace but the movie feels a bit weird. See it’s a movie that feels completely like a money grab property. The character arc isn’t really wrapped up and most of the other snail characters are there just to be joke delivery devices. DreamWorks Animation has the M.O these days of turning their movies into new cartoon series to make even more money from them, but usually the films themselves usually feel like full stories and this really doesn’t.

The animation is solid and it is a pretty bright movie in terms of color. The character design is a bit bland though with nothing really standing out much other than snail shells. The car racing scenes, while nice, can be seen just as well on modern video game systems. The 3D was also very lacking. Nothing really popped out enough for it to seem necessary. Also there was a lot of dark humor in this with a ton of nonchalant animal death. It really feels out of place especially with it happening so often in the movie.  Now should you see Turbo with your family? To tell the truth this is one you can seriously wait out until it’s out on Blu Ray or VOD instead of trekking to the theater. There are much better options out there like Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, or Pacific Rim to watch with your family.

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