Pilot News Movie Review: Turbo

The new animated film “Turbo” opened this past Friday, July 19, and features a racing-savvy snail gain increased speed following a freak accident. Like its miniscule protagonist, “Turbo” demonstrates great ambition in the special effects department and overall presentation, but is encumbered by a formulaic storyline, so-so dialogue, and a lack of innovation in comparison to previous animated movies.

The general plot of “Turbo” follows Theo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), the garden snail with a penchant for auto racing and his sport idol, Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). Following the incident which granted him his special powers, he and his brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti) are discovered by an energetic taco vendor with pipe dreams, Tito (Michael Pena), who plans to use Theo’s abilities to gain publicity for the taqueria owned by he and his brother. This leads to Tito and Theo, rechristened as ‘Turbo’, hatching a plan to compete in the Indy 500 to fulfill both of their long shot aspirations.

“Turbo” manages to tick off every box when it comes to animated movies with anthropomorphic animals. A main character who seeks to justify his unorthodox behavior to his disapproving peers? Check. A crew of colorful sidekicks to (at least attempt to) provide comic relief? Check. A defining moment where the protagonist proves all of his naysayers wrong at the climax? Check. But what holds “Turbo” back is how the overall story elements resemble those of “Ratatouille” and “Cars.” This movie will not be too different from other Pixar and Dreamworks films you’ve seen in the past.

The recycled story could be forgiven with strong comedic punch, but this is also a bit disappointing. This movie might provoke a few chuckles depending on the audience, but when one of your film’s best quips is “You have glasses, I have glasses…what do we have to do to get this done?” you know you’re in trouble.

Other than those negative aspects, this film wasn’t that bad. The voice acting was excellent, the soundtrack complemented the action nicely, and shows some character development, such as the relationship between both central pairs of brothers (Turbo and Chet, Tito and his brother Angelo), and doesn’t have anything objectionable for younger viewers.

Overall, this is a film that won’t have a lasting legacy, but can be a solid rental option if viewers are willing to overlook its generic qualities.

This film is showing at the Tri-Way Drive In in Plymouth.