(Sorry I'm late! Life conspired against me!)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Samuel L Jackson, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Mario Andretti, Mike Bell, and more.
Directed by: David Soren Screenplay by: Darren Lemke, Robert D Siegel, and David Soren Cinematography by: Chris Stover Original Music by: Henry Jackman
Premise: Theo is a garden snail, but the slow toils of the garden where he lives just aren't for him. His dream is to become a racer, regardless of what his brother says or the fact he's almost an outcast within his own community. A freak accident with nitrous oxide after months of drinking his favorite racing hero's sponsored (and full of possible side effects) cola changes something inside Theo so that his body will move as fast as his dreams. But even after fate brings him to a kindred spirit, the human Tito, there are a lot of obstacles still to be overcome - not the least of which is his own brother. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: "Turbo" has nice voice acting work by all involved. Ryan Reynolds really brings through Turbo's yearning for racing as well as his utter bafflement with regards to his brother not understanding what drives him. Paul Giamatti did a great job as Chet, easily conveying Theo's brother's frustrations and worries. Samuel L Jackson was fun as Whiplash, the 'not quite sane' leader of the racing snail group at Starlight Plaza. The decision of getting Bill Hader to play Guy Gagné proved a great choice, as Hader gave Guy just the right amount of suave and sleaze, depending on the situation.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: As usual Dreamworks delivers a gorgeous piece of animation. From the factory like garden environs of the snails to the racing track of the Indianapolis 500, there is meticulous attention to detail. So despite the mind boggling premise with it's necessary 'suspension of disbelief', it's not hard at all to accept that the world portrayed in "Turbo" is real.
There are several visual gags and repeated bits throughout the film. Make sure to sit through part of the credits as a recurring moment finally gets a resolution and a laugh.
3) Story/Plot - Thumbs Up: Despite my own eagerness to see this film, I'd been wondering exactly how they planned to pull off the main premise, and if they could do so in a satisfying manner. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by their choices! "Turbo" is not one of those contrived arrangements where the hero gets to his final goal without any realistic hardships. The story actually places real life stumbling blocks in the hero's path, like the need for big money to pay entry fees, or the fact it takes more than just dreaming to reach your goals.
Another surprise were the two concurrent themes with regards to brothers and dreamers - not only do we get the struggle between Theo (the dreamer) and his older brother Chet (the pragmatist), we also get the same friction on a human level with the Dos Bros Taco stand owners, Tito and Angelo. So "Turbo" actually tackles some quite emotional and adult themes.
Conclusion: "Turbo" was a lot of fun on several levels. It's more adult in themes than one would expect, but still has a lot of 'gags' and action to keep both kids and adults well entertained. And if you're a racing fan, there's even more to love! Don't forget to sit through part of the credits.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again)