Of the many stories to pass through Dreamwork’s doors over the years, Turbo, about a snail who dreams of being a racer, certainly sounds like one of the more charming.
Voiced by the eternally po-faced Ryan Reynolds, slow moving Theo certainly looks like a sweet little underdog, with his stemmed eyes constantly searching or an escape from the mundane. Fed up with his daily duties at a tomato plant and the persistent prods from his brother Chet (a worrisome Paul Giamatti) to make the most of what he’s got, Theo heads on a walk of despair, gets caught up in a high speed automobile incident and the transformation into Turbo begins.
The vocal talent joining Turbo’s journey to the top certainly boasts promise; Samuel L. Jackson heads a team of race minded molluscs voiced by Snoop Dogg, Ben Schwartz, Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader to name a few. With Reynolds’ comedic background you would hope for some clever lines or references nudged towards adult audience members, instead Turbo is reduced to a bunch of clichés collected from a decade of predecessors.
Supporting characters are confined to borderline offensive stereotypes, devoid of the charm you’d find in say Shrek or Finding Nemo, and even Turbo’s ramblings about making the impossible possible become tiresome.
Visually there are some impressive sequences; the racetrack medium is bold with some excellent use of 3D. If you’re expecting anything more than a school holiday pleaser however you will feel short changed.