Wednesday, November 6, 2013


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Even in snail form, I bet the Ryan Reynolds snail has great abs.

Turbo – 4 out of 5

It’s pretty standard to have animated movies be about characters looking to achieve a dream that everyone else thinks is insane. Wall-E dreamed of cleaning the Earth and getting his freak on with Eve. Pinocchio dreamed of being a real boy despite the fact he lived with an old man that never had a family and, in his spare time, made little wooden boys or how Hiccup wanted to train a dragon so that he can rain fiery death upon his enemies (if I recall the story to How to Train Your Dragon properly). This story element comes from a time when stories weren’t told in colorful, animated form but were told through the sounds that escape our lips. It’s a tale as old as time and something we’ve seen over and over again. It’s one of our basic instincts; a drive to be something beyond what we’re told to be and achieve our dreams. 

Snails have laser beam eyes!  I've been saying it for years!

Even snails can't stand the trailer park feel of Nascar.
Turbo is the story of a snail who really loves racing (not Nascar type of racing). Every night Theo (Ryan Reynolds) watches his hero and 5-time winner of the Indy 500, Guy Gagné (Bill Hader), and dreams about the day he can become the world’s greatest racer. His brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) keeps telling him that his dream is one owned by a fool but one day, after a freak accident, Theo gets bit by a radioactive race car doused by nitrous oxide (you know, the stuff Vin Diesel’s blood is made out of) and it alters his DNA to the point he is now supercharged and can race with the best of them; leaving a streaking blue light behind him like he’s a lightcycle in Tron. After being discovered by Tito (Michael Peña); co-owner of a fledgling taco stand, Theo sees his dreams ahead of him and Tito decides to enter the snail into the Indy 500. With a crew of fellow racing snails (although not nearly as fast) at his side, Theo wins the hearts of the world and sets off to compete against his hero.

Not long after, Olivia Wilde showed up in a skin-tight outfit alongside a creepy
CGI Jeff Bridges.

While Turbo may be geared almost exclusively for children, I really enjoyed this film. The characters may not be as deep or complex as you would see in a Pixar film, the movie is really fun and, even in my cynical and jaded years, the moral of striving for your dream is still easily engaging. Overall, the movie is just cute and fun…and yes, I just described it as “cute.”

Seriously, way more entertaining to watch than Nascar.

The animation is great in this one and the movie is actually really funny—despite the fact it seems like it would be nothing but a collection of really easy and totally obvious jokes. The animation really captured the speed that Theo/Turbo gets when he zipping around like a mollusk version of The Flash (or Quicksilver, if you’re a Marvel person). However, the one thing I liked, above all else, was the cast.

Drowning in a pool of nitrous oxide...half the extras in The Fast and the Furious
went out that way...and now can run super fast.

Whiplash is angry because Turbo is refusing to check
what's in his wallet.
The film really picked the perfect actors for the job in this one. Turbo’s snail crew, for example, had the baddest motherfucker on the planet; Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash; the snail acting as Turbo’s motivation to continue following his dream and was backed up by Maya Rudolph as Burn, Ben Schwartz as Skidmark, Mike Bell as White Shadow (who has some of the funniest parts of the movie) and Snoop Dogg as Smoove Move—who is basically just Snoop as a snail because we can’t actually expect Snoop Dogg to play anyone other than Snoop Dogg. That’s too much to expect from the D-Oh-Double-Gee.

White Shadow...definitely one of the funniest characters in the film.

Each of these actors did a great job in providing the backup to Turbo. They pretty much had to be great in this one because most of Turbo’s interaction comes from them. Besides Paul Giamatti being amazing as Turbo’s doubting brother, the speedy little snail needed someone in his corner and since he can’t interact with the human characters (some semblance of realism had to happen here) these snails become the ones to coach him on. It also helped that each of these characters are unique and fun. That isn’t to say the human characters aren’t good in their own right. 

Chet looks stoned.  Wait, what type of plant is he currently standing on?

Tito likes snail racing because he has yet to discover
Michael Peña is just unbelievably fantastic as Tito. The character of Tito is idealistic, wide-eyed with wonder and filled with a child-like innocence and Peña brings that to life in the character in a way that you stop looking at Tito as an animated character voiced by Peña and you start to just see him as Tito. Special mention has to be made, as well, to Bill Hader as Guy Gagné because Number One) he’s Bill Hader and Number Two) he was really good in it.

Stare at this picture long enough and you'll either find it increasingly funny or you'll
go mad in a rich, thick and savory insanity.  Either way you'll laugh a lot.

The only complaints I had in the cast department was the fact that Richard Jenkins was in the film as Bobby, a friend of Tito and a man who owns a hobby shop near Tito’s taco stand. Jenkins is a great actor and it would have been nice to see him utilized more than just a guy who has a few lines. In fact, they could have edited out a couple of Ken Jeong’s lines and gave Jenkins and his character some more screen time. Jeong, in an effort to continue to be an annoying character and pushing the bounds of stereotypes, plays a nail salon lady…just typing that I can hear my computer groaning.

Michelle Rodriguez did this voice and, even in animated form, she is typecast.

Overall, Turbo is a fun animated film that is capable of entertaining both young and old…even though it will cause the old to somewhat question the premise. The film looks nice, has a great cast and is funny without just being silly to get the giggles of the children.

Look at him zip along...

Wait…snails are usually slow…OH! Now I get it!

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