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A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail (voice of Ryan Reynolds) achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.

Review by Louise Keller:
I felt like cheering as the turbo-charged garden snail navigates precariously between screeching, speeding racing car wheels on the track of the Indy 500 in the rousing climactic finale of this upbeat, quirky and utterly charming family 3D animation. It's a cute idea to juxtapose a speed-crazy garden snail onto a race track and director David Soren has woven together an endearing tale about the ultimate underdog for whom the stars are the limit. Filled with inventive ideas, wacky concepts and characters so colourful they are off the rainbow chart, Turbo is a breath of fresh air guaranteed to delight youngsters and adults alike.

In the opening scenes as we are introduced to Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), the bright orange snail with bulbous expressive eyes whose fantasy is speed, we get a sense of the tomato patch reality in which he and the other colourful snails live. The freak incident that fuels Turbo's shell with nitrate oxide, enabling him to hit high speeds is nicely visualised, propelling him into the reality of another underdog - chubby, lovable Taco restaurant owner Tito (Michael Peña). Beyond the fact they are both dreamers, there are parallels between Turbo and Tito - both have pragmatic, cautious brothers who are quick to effect the handbrake to the risks at hand. I love the depiction of Tito's snail-racing hobby, in which an assorted pack of racing snails of all shapes, colours and sizes vie for speed and adventure.

Tito's idea to promote the dwindling Taco business by championing the garden snail and registering him in the famous Indy 500 race, alongside his Formula 1 hero, the arrogant champion Guy Gagné (Bill Hader) is one that offers humour and visual delights. The all-star voice cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong and Michel Rodriguez with special mention to Paul Giamatti as Turbo's sluggish purple brother Chet and Luis Guzmán as Tito's brother Angelo.

Visually, the snails have great appeal, each with a different colour, shape and personality and there are plenty of quips that will have adults chuckling out loud. From Crow Awareness Week to harnessing the birds for the snails' own purposes, the ideas are continually pumping. Character is built from the inside out and before long - with the help of social media - the whole world is muttering 'that snail is fast', as he skids onto the race track on a hazardous and precarious adventure in search of the finish line. To quote Guy Gagné, 'there is no dream too big and no dreamer too small' and this high-powered injection of colour, humour, courage and determination reinforces the message wholeheartedly.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Perfectly predictable but endlessly entertaining and boasting amazing animation, Turbo is yet another zero to hero story in the vein of Cars and Planes - and plenty of live action films from Hollywood as well. The underdog in this case is a plucky little garden snail, who never accepts his lowly station in life. The moral is clear enough, upholding the mantra of 'chase your dream' for all young Americans.

David Soren's idea for a story about a snail overcoming his natural speed limit - with a lot of help from an opportune and apposite accident - is much like any superhero story (Spider-Man comes to mind). The challenge is to make this story stick with audiences across generations - and the filmmakers achieve this with a combination of good writing, great voice casting and superb animation techniques.

The inclusion of two taco-making Mexican brothers in key roles (voices of Michael Pena and Luis Guzman) and a black dude snail (Samuel L. Jackson) ensures a colourful ensemble with racial idiosyncrasies used to positive effect. But it's Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) and his caring, careful brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) who carry the film on their shells, with Bill Hader also excellent as the world champion driver Guy Gagné - with a world champion ego.

The animation is so fluid and complex it approximates live action without trying to be photorealistic. The speed of many action scenes is such that enormous amounts of animation are required: this is a film that could not have been done without computers. But all you need to know is that it's as much fun as a day at the races.

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(US, 2013)

VOICES: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Michael Pena, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez

PRODUCER: Lisa Stewart

DIRECTOR: David Soren

SCRIPT: Darren Lemke, Robert D. Siegel, David Soren


MUSIC: Henry Jackman

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 19, 2013

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