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Turbo - Review

Turbo

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE story may involve a snail but there’s nothing slow about Turbo, a quick-witted, sharply plotted crowd-pleaser from writer-director David Soren.

Occupying a starting position on the grid reserved for the least likely movie heroes (alongside Remy the rat in Ratatouille and Z in Antz), Turbo nevertheless transforms a garden pest into an effortlessly appealing winner capable who should delight viewers of all ages.

Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) is a garden snail who dreams of one day becoming a racing hero, having been inspired by the Indy exploits of racing legend Guy Gagné (Bill Hader). His ambition puts him at odds with his less ambitious brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) and the remainder of their garden crew.

But when a freak accident injects Turbo with the ability to turn on the gas, he and Chet are hurtled into a high-speed adventure involving two burrito chefs (Luis Guzman and Michael Pena) and a new group of racing snails (led by Samuel L Jackson’s smooth-talking Whiplash) that leads them all the way to the Indy 500 and an unlikely shot at glory.

Soren’s film is the type of animated adventure that embraces its own absurdity and is all the better for it. Everything is heightened (from the colourful visualisations to the lively characterisations), thereby ensuring that audiences are swept up in the film’s infectious energy.

And a lot of what takes place is inspired, particularly gags involving predatory crows, imagination versus reality and the perils of being a hapless snail.

Admittedly, the first half of the film is more inventive than the more formulaic second but by then you’ll be too wrapped up in the story to notice. And the performances are such that you’ll still enjoy being in each character’s company.

Reynolds injects warmth and excellent comic timing into Turbo, Giamatti is brilliantly reserved and worry-prone as Chet, Pena infuses Tito with a winning sense of ambition and care and the likes of Jackson, Snoop Dogg and even Ken Jeong (as a female nail technician) register strongly in some way.

Ridiculous premise aside, Turbo is a blast for viewers of every age that’s well worth shelling out for.

Certificate: U
Running time: 96mins
UK Release Date: October 18, 2013