Dreamworks takes the “I want to be a Kung Fu master – but I’m a Panda” formula and replaces it with: “I want to be a race car – but I’m a snail.” The result is a “no dream’s too big, no dreamer too small” tale that, whilst it ain’t up to Disney/Pixar standards, borrows liberally from their back catalogue. Think A Bug’s Life in Cars, with bits of Ratatouille thrown in.
Lack of originality and thin story aside, the voice cast capture the naïve idealism needed to pull of a tale of the little gastropod that could compete in the Indy 500 – with the help of his friends and a shell full of nitrous oxide. As Turbo, Ryan Reynolds is ably backed by the likes of Paul Giamatti (as his brother, Chet), Samuel L. Jackson (as possibly the coolest snail in cinema history), Michelle Rodriguez and, er, Snoop Dogg (as Smoove Moove.)
The animation’s OK, the 3D barely noticeable, but the third act race has the requisite whizz and there’s a fair splattering of slapstick to amuse little ones. Not much for grown ups, and the lack of ideas leads to wholesale pinching from other movies as opposed to the clever homage of Dreamworks’ own Shrek.
At the finish line? It’s a solid family movie diversion that won’t offend or disappoint on its premise of a motoring mollusc. As for why they bothered? Well, as Smoove Moove tells Chet when he asks if hitching a ride on a snail-snacking crow’s really necessary, “No, but where’s the fun in that?”
‘Turbo’ Movie Times (also playing in 3D)