Monday 7 October 2013

Film Review: Turbo

Dreamwork's follows-up their highly-successful prehistoric romp The Croods with this cute, family-friendly caper Turbo. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena and Samuel L. Jackson, Turbo isn't Dreamwork's best effort by a long way, but it is certainly a good romp for kids this school holidays.

Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail that loves to live life in the fast lane; or at least, he dreams of doing so. Stuck in a dead-end job at the tomato plant, Turbo dreams of attending iconic motor-race, the Indy 500, and meeting his idol Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). One day, he is imbibed with super-fast superpowers by being sucked through a cars engine and having his DNA altered by nitrous oxide.

All of a sudden, his dream of reaching the Indy 500 becomes a reality. With the help of a down-trodden Mexican food vendor, Tito (Michael Pena), Turbo journeys to Indianapolis to fulfil his dream and show his talents off to the world.

Turbo is a pretty solid effort by Dreamworks. It isn't in the same league as the studio's previous works (like Kung Fu Panda or How To Train Your Dragon) but it isn't a complete dud. The studio have released three new films (that aren't sequels or spin-offs) in the last twelve months and the quality of production has started to dip a little; first there was Rise of the Guardians, The Croods and now Turbo. All of these films are great but don't hold a candle to the the studio's best films, or Pixar's.

With bright, colourful animation and a wacky premise, Turbo will still draw in the family crowd. The films biggest weakness is the inability to draw anything else. The great thing about Kung Fu Panda or Shrek is their ability to appeal to all ages. Somehow, I can't see many adults being as keen to sit through Turbo.
There are some jokes that might be aimed at an older age bracket and the kiddie-friendly story is always an attractive element to parents.

The voice acting in the movie is good with stars like Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson lending their voices to all sorts of snails. As a film aimed at kids, Turbo is very formulaic; if you sit down and think about how you think this movie will play out, it'll play out just like that, right down to the final scene. This, again, might be a drag for people over the age of 16 but kids will lap it up and cheer for more.

On the whole, Turbo is a fairly run-of-the-mill kiddie flick that doesn't break the mould in terms of ambition. It slows down a fair bit in the middle but things really kick into gear (yep, pun intended) in the end. The quirky premise and poppy visuals will go down a treat with kids but don't expect anything other than the standard zero-to-hero fare here.

I give Turbo: 5.5/10

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