Sunday 27 October 2013

Today's Review: Turbo

Theo, or as he likes be called, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail with big dreams. He wants to be a world champion racer. The problem is, obviously, that he's a snail, and the rest of his snail community waste no time telling him so, especially his brother. Chet (Paul Giamatti). But when Turbo runs away and finds himself dragged through a car engine during a street race, he becomes infused with some nitrous super powers, and truly becomes the fastest snail in the world.

Okay, probably not the most promising premise in the world, but thinking about it, it's not much more crazy than a movie about a rat who can cook, and indeed, the first part of this movie does quite closely follow that of Ratatouille. There's the outcast in a community with big dreams beyond his station, with a supportive but unbelieving sibling. There's even a foreign superstar on TV that spurs on our heroes, saying that anyone can achieve greatness if they truly want it. After that, there are even pretty close parallels with Cars, as Turbo finds himself in an abandoned lot of stores staffed by cookie cut stereotypes, desperate to be put on the map in order to drum up some business.

So yes, Turbo is perhaps not the most originally executed movie, but it certainly isn't a bad one. The premise, although quite ridiculous at first, plays out pretty well, with Turbo working his way up to super stardom, culminating in a fantastic race sequence. In fact, a lot of the scenes showing off Turbo's powers are fantastically crafted, and gave me some much needed adrenaline on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon. The visuals are great, with lush garden landscapes and noisy city streets accentuated by Turbo's neon blue trails. The movie is also helped out with a fantastic star cast. I've already mentioned Reynolds and Giamatti, who do a fantastic job seeing as they're voicing snails, but there are also great turns from Bill Hader, Samuel L. Jackson and even Snoop Dogg.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this movie at all, but its actually surprised me. It looks and sounds great, but it's not perfect. Aside from the uncanny similarities to Pixar great that I pointed out above, it just lacks a certain polish. Some jokes are good, others fall flat. The story is a little thin on the ground, but it's adequate enough to fill the 90 minute running time. Turbo is certainly not groundbreaking, or even particularly original, but it's a solid, entertaining movie.

My rating: 4/5

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