Directed by David Soren. Voices by Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Patrick Bell. (2013, PG, 96 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., July 19, 2013

”No dream is too big, no dreamer too small,” proclaims the race-car driver Guy Gagné (voiced by Hader) in this animated movie. Those words are taken to heart by Turbo (voiced by Reynolds), a suburban garden snail who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500. An impossible dream, of course, but we’re in the world of cartoons, and Turbo is a real little engine that could. One day, Turbo wanders away from his mollusk community’s tomato patch and gets sucked into the manifold of a car engaged in a street race. Although Turbo survives the trauma, the nitrous fumes magically transform the tiny snail into a racing machine from his goggle-eyed headlights to his rear-motion alert signal. Running away from home again, Turbo is rescued by Tito (Peña), a man who drives a taco truck but races snails for entertainment. Together, they get a shot at accomplishing their dreams.

The plot of this latest release from DreamWorks Animation isn’t terribly original, but it’s serviceable, and the images are bright and lively and accompanied by solid vocal work. The racing scenes are fast if not furious, and lots of nice, small touches dot the landscape. The supporting characters add a lot of color to the proceedings, ranging from Turbo’s safety-obsessed mollusk brother Chet (Giamatti) to the cadre of Tito’s racing snails (Jackson, Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, Schwartz, and Bell) and the human owners of the businesses in the rundown shopping plaza where Tito and his brother Angelo (Guzmán) make their tacos (Jeong, Rodriguez, Jenkins). By the time Turbo reaches the finish line, this new iteration of the fable about pursuing one’s dreams no matter how unlikely they seem joins the winner’s circle without quite nabbing the trophy.

More Films
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise isn't having any fun in this boilerplate actioner

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 21, 2016

Keeping Up With the Joneses
Silly cul-de-sac action comedy is a knockoff Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Steve Davis, Oct. 21, 2016

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Film Festival Review: <i>Youth in Oregon</i>
AFF Review: Youth in Oregon
Family dramedy suffers from unnecessary subplots

Oct. 22, 2016

Kevin Hart: What Now?
Comic plays to record crowd in Philadelphia

Oct. 21, 2016


Turbo, David Soren

This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)