‘Turbo’ is a poor man’s ‘Ratatouille’ and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the Pixar classic remains one of the best animated movies ever to hit the big screen and being under the shadow of such a colossus translates into a viewing experience that may lack the originality but makes up with some heart to boot.
Theo (voice of Ryan Reynolds) is a garden snail with one big dream; to go faster than any snail ever has before him and emulate his 5-time Indianapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagne (voice of Bill Hader). He’s chided by his brother, Chet (voice of Paul Giamatti) who considers Theo’s aspirations as nothing more than a pipedream. An accident however infuses his DNA with nitrous oxide, resulting in him gaining super speed that can beat not just every snail out there but also a shot at racing with his motorcar racing hero in an actual Indianapolis 500 race.
The tale of Turbo a.k.a. Theo mirrors Ramy’s journey in ‘Ratatouille’ right down to the theme of “knowing who you are”; the only difference being how the relationship with his hero develops in this tale. The story is a little weak and with no originality it will most likely be appreciated more by the kids than adults. The inside jokes however to various other racing films like the Fast and Furious franchise will be picked up the adults.
The race sequences are brilliantly realised and having The Dark Knight’s Wally Pfister helping out in the visuals shows in the gorgeously rendered onscreen, even using the 3D medium to the fullest. Even the sound effects are quite well done.
The voice work by all involved it quite good and in particular Paul Giamatti shines with a stellar turn as Theo’s cynical brother.
‘Turbo’ is a movie that’s far from a great movie, but what it does provide is perfect passable entertainment with some gorgeous visuals. The kids will love it.