Movie Review

Turbo

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Genre:
Animation Family Comedy IMAX 3D
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
July 17, 2013 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
DVD: November 12, 2013
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation

snails in the Bible

refusing to let your limitations get in the way of your dreams / aiming high

staying grounded and realistic

good sportsmanship

Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

Featuring: Ryan ReynoldsTurbo (voice)
Paul GiamattiChet (voice)
Michael PeñaTito (voice)
Luis GuzmánAngelo (voice)
Bill HaderGuy Gagné (voice)
Richard JenkinsBobby (voice)
Ken JeongKim-Ly (voice)
Michelle RodriguezPaz (voice)
Maya RudolphBurn (voice)
Ben Schwartz … Skid Mark (voice)
Kurtwood Smith … The CEO (voice)
Snoop Dogg … Smoove Move (voice)
Samuel L. JacksonWhiplash (voice)
Aaron Berger … Danny (voice)
Michael Patrick Bell … White Shadow
Aidan Andrews … Big Wheel Boy (voice)
Jen Cohn … Reporter
Paul Page … Announcer 1
Director: David Soren
Producer: DreamWorks Animation
Susan Slagle Rogers … co-producer
Lisa Stewart … producer
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation

“Slo No Mo. Go For It!”

Turbo (or in this case Theo) has lived a life that has felt, well… incomplete. He’s not like the other snails in the garden he works in. Instead of being content with an average life, he dreams of life in the fast-lane… literally! When he’s not in the garden, he’s in front of the TV watching his favorite racers from the Indy 500 and wishing for his life to have purpose (and speed) as well.

His brother has always been the realist in the family. Every time Turbo mentions life as a racer, his brother criticizes and crushes his hopes, telling him it will never be possible for a snail to race and to wake up from this fantasy. Dejected, Turbo slithers his way to the top of a highway sign, where he takes a fall onto a car, gets sucked inside, and soaked in nitrous oxide.

When he wakes up, Turbo realizes he has amazing speed, his lifelong dream realized and is recognized by a local Taco owner, Tito, and his brother Angelo. Tito has a plan…to place Turbo in the Indy 500 and put his business and his friends’ back on the map. Turbo is a story about never giving up on your dream, even in the face of the impossible odds.

When one first hears the premise for Turbo, you’re thinking, “A snail dreaming to be a race car driver? How desperate are filmmakers for ideas?” I should know, because I too thought this when I saw the previews. It is a silly concept, with an age old message that rings through the movie about perseverance. BUT… the movie is not so silly in how this message is presented. The result? A movie that comfortably tells the audience “Looks are deceiving.”

First off, what makes this film great is it’s story. It’s really simple, a snail wants to become a racer. You may also walk in feeling like you might know how it ends, too. But what makes this movie memorable are the small steps it takes (even in only an hour and half) to reach the climactic finish. The movie is set in such a way that the old, “root for the underdog” theme is not as cliché as previous movies have made it. Add excellent, and sometimes hilarious, performances from Ryan Reynolds and Paul Giamatti and the entire snail crew, and you have a safe, family-friendly film full of good heart that never gets old to watch.

Before I go into content, I have to commend the animators behind “Turbo.” Dreamworks certainly has earned its reputation in animation among the greats like Pixar. It doesn’t surprise me that their good reputation in animation lives on in “Turbo,” especially in scenes where the crew travels to Indianapolis on the highway, the Indianapolis Speedway and even the fine detail of the cars in the race. Bravo, Dreamworks! Bravo.

In today’s world, you are not going to find many films rated PG where you don’t have to worry about questionable items rearing their ugly heads in children’s movies. There are some things to mention, minor things, to look for in “Turbo.”

Violence: Moderate. There are a few scenes where crows grab snails as food, as a means of humor. Turbo is sucked into a car, jolted around quite a bit, and finally doused in nitrous oxide and spat back out. There is also a scene where one of the snails controls a crow, smacking it against a windshield and finally gets hit by a bus. Lastly, during the race, there is a huge car pileup on the track, and we watch as the cars flip and are demolished.

Languate: Mild. There are a couple inappropriate, but brief songs, that come out of Turbo’s mouth after he recovers from being sucked into the car. One snail says, “nice curves,” and other snails, during a snail race, make mention to other snails of being “slaughtered” and “dead meat” (not threateningly, only in a matter of competition behavior).

There is no sex or nudity or any sexual themes in “Turbo.”

Going back to the theme of the movie, at the beginning, Turbo’s brother makes an interesting statement (I’m paraphrasing), “We all have our limits… the sooner you accept this and realize our pitiful existence, the happier you’ll be.” I want to point out that in God’s eyes we have purpose. We are called to greater things than we can imagine. To others, they may look unrealistic, but to us and to God they become real. We are called to serve God in the impossible and remember the famous passage, “All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength.” This is certainly true.

I strongly recommend “Turbo” to Christians of all ages. Children are the primary target for this film, but even some adults may find this heart-warming, family-friend film worth viewing with their kids, or even without the kids! My only regret is that I didn’t take a chance with “Turbo” earlier this summer. But now that I have, I couldn’t help but be “fast” to recommend Dreamworks’ commendable installation.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I have 4 kids, and all of them really liked it. It had some slow parts, where the 3 year old was a little bored, but, overall, she liked it. I did not find anything that was offensive, other than a few outfits that were a little too tight. Overall, it was a good movie for kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Keri, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I avoided watching this movie for a month, because I didn’t think I was going to like it. Snails? Seemed like it would be slow and ridiculous that this snail could be in the Indy 500. HOWEVER, I saw the movie last night, and it was adorable! It was very funny, very inspiring and not slow at all. Absurd that he was in the Indy 500? Yes, but looking at someone accomplishing the impossible, that was the message. It is a great movie, so much better then expected.

The only part I didn’t like was when they celebrated, they opened up brown bottles that looked like beer bottles, being that is a kid’s movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 39 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Took my family to see this movie. From a morality perspective, I don't remember anything offensive or questionable. However, the movie just wasn't that great. It seemed slow at times and my two young boys didn't seem particularly interested in it either. Story seemed a little dull and the plot of very predictable. However, if you are looking for a relatively safe movie to take the kids to see, than this might be an option.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Jason, age 39 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Turbo” was awesome! You have to see this. I honestly can’t remember anything offensive. It was funny in several places, and there was no butt humor! My three younger brothers and my parents loved it. It was both exiting and uplifting and has a great theme about chasing your dreams. I am DYING for there to be a sequel. Say it with me, people: SEQUEL! SEQUEL! SEQUEL! (etc.)…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rebekah, age 15 (USA)
Movie Critics

…TURBO has loads of hi-octane fun for all ages, with a positive redemptive message about being your brother’s keeper.…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…This endearing underdog tale is closer in spirit to Pixar’s “Ratatouille” than anything DreamWorks has made to date…
—Peter Debruge, Variety

…It’s all very rousing in the usual way, but “Turbo” leaves a slightly sour aftertaste, and not only because of its own brave choice of mediocrity over excellence.…
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

…It’s all very rousing in the usual way, but “Turbo” leaves a slightly sour aftertaste, and not only because of its own brave choice of mediocrity over excellence.…
—Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

…young boy-aimed animated outing… An attractively designed but narratively challenged, one-note film that skews younger than the norm for big animated features these days and has limited appeal for little girls…
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

…If Pixar is the gold standard in animation, “Turbo,” from DreamWorks, rates as a solid silver. The animation is vibrant and genuinely exciting at times, particularly when viewers get a ground-level view of the races, and its hero is spirited and likable. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it works as a familiar story well told.…
—Paul Doro, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

…this is quite simply a cute and—for all its quest for speed—cautious pic best enjoyed with little ones who readily embrace absurdity and who cheer for a checkered-flag happy ending for their brand-new squiggly pals.…
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

…“Turbo” lacks extra throttle of better family films… when it comes to animated movies of 2013, “Turbo” is running a distant third.
—Mathew DeKinder, St. Louis Today

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