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    July 22, 2013

    MOVIE REVIEW: TURBO

    The tagline “He’s fast. They’re furious” is obviously borrowed somewhere. This racing-theme animation, the latest effort from DreamWorks Animation and the second one to feature 20th Century Fox as their new partner strikes a harmless entertainment that will appeals the family audience and children with a rush of adrenaline love for cars. Turbo is marketed by the studio as an exclusive hybrid between Pixar’s Cars and Vin Diesel’s very popular Fast and Furious franchise; while some elements from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby does exist too. The premise of having a group of talking snail putting all their dreams and hopes to race in Daytona 500 sounds silly, but does it? Yes, it sounds silly but it does not mean “Turbo” is a silly movie.



    Genre: Animation/Family
    Classification: U
    Release Date: 18 July 2013
    Running Time: 96 minutes
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation
    Director: David Soren
    Screenplay: Darren Lemke, David Soren, Robert Siegel
    Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L. Jackson

    Plot: All his life, Theo the garden snail has lived a slow lane life with dreams of speed at the Indy 500. Suddenly, a freak mishap gives him the ability to move at superspeed, which puts Theo and his brother at a failing strip mall. They are discovered by Tito, a goofy fast food worker, and his crew of racing snails, and a wild idea is born for Theo to race with his heroes in Indianapolis. Now, this gang of misfits are traveling to that city to dare pursue the impossible dream, which will require all of Theo's speed as Turbo to have any shot at achieving.
    Theo a.k.a. Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a garden snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world. His obsession with speed made him peculiar and an outsider in the snail community. His brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti) tries to convince him to give up his dream and starts to live the life he is meant to be. Demoralized, Theo decides to wander to the freeway to admire the traffic but he quickly involves into a freak accident when he gets sucked into the charger of a drag car, fusing his DNA with nitrous oxide. The accident leaves Theo with incredible speed. One day, the sibling is captured by Tito (Michael Pena), a "Dos Bros" taco truck driver and is brought to race with other snails. Theo astounds both human and snail alike with his speed and earns the respect of the snails, led by Whiplash, with his crew Smoove Move, Burn, Skidmark, and White Shadow, who have impressive skills of their own.

    Turbo is a semi-decent original non-sequel animation that draws from various inspirations. The main antagonist and the final showdown on the last lap reminiscent Talladega Nights. As silly as its premise may sound, it is still nevertheless refreshing to a certain extent. It is unfortunate that Turbo is also running on the same treadmill of weak writing, lack of heartfelt moments with its less than inspiring story. With the lack of effective chuckles, I realize that the story is not only cliché and formulaic, but also depressing at times. While the whole plot deals much on the commonly issue of achieving dreams, it spends most of the time debating and arguing the virtue and goal, a clash between the optimism with pessimism.

    It is now clear that Turbo will not be able to bring anything refreshing on the table, what's more a clear and strong message that could touches the heart due to the lack of emotional investment. Saved probably for one particular scene when Chet approaches Theo on a crow to give advice – but that comes way too late in the running time. Even when Turbo decides to focus all of their attention on the cliché and less inspiring plot, Turbo is still a technical achievement on its own merit. This animation is visually stunning and beautifully lit, emerging better than some of the animations this year. Great musical scores and music pieces accompany the movie but it would not go much further since much of itself is already underwhelming. Turbo is partially saved by some interesting characters of varying backgrounds that transcends across ethnicity and ages.

    In the end, first time director David Soren’s Turbo is a mediocre animation that has some great concepts and talented voice castings to boost the varying and interesting characters but only to be underwhelmed by its own weak script, repetitive and cliché plot elements as well as lack of emotional invested to deliver a strong message in the end.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 13.2/20.0
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