Cert: U / 96 mins / Dir. David Soren
Dreamworks' latest offering has been cast like one of their flagship movies, and it looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous, but the mechanics of the story itself are strictly b-list. That's not to say the movie isn't funny in some places and exhilarating in others, but when you walk out into the foyer, it's left you with nothing. Turbo takes the archetypal underdog story, but doesn't add any zing of its own. Maybe it doesn't matter as much for the parents in the audience, but I suspect it'll fail to grab many of the younger ones in the long term, too (and let's not mess about: long-term engagement leading in to merchandising and spin-offs is exactly what this sort of thing is meant to be about).
Another mis-step may have been the casting of the central role. Ryan Reynolds does a great job of reading the lines, but his voice just doesn't fit the character of Turbo, and when that doesn't line up, it makes it hard to connect with the movie. Paul Giamatti and Michael Peña are far better suited in their roles one rung down the ladder, but it's Samuel L Jackson who steals the show as racing snail Whiplash. Whenever he's talking on-screen, you wish he hadn't been off-screen for so long. Actually, that's probably just me and Sam Jackson, there.
The animation is great (as you'd expect), and the 3D does the job rather nicely (also as you'd expect), but is it worth shelling out £40 to take the kids to? Well, if you've got a big TV and a BluRay player, you'd probably be as well waiting three months. Turbo is a valiant effort, but even Dreamworks UK themselves have decided to release it in October, in a week which isn't half-term; that should tell you how confident the marketing department are in the film.
It's shiny, it's funny, and it has a lot of heart, but in the race for glory, Turbo is an also-ran.
For the most part.
Not really; it's an enjoyable but empty experience.
If you're going to the cinema, go for the 3D, otherwise it can wait three months.
Not any time soon.
I didn't hear one, but could easily have missed it if there was.
People criticise animated sequels and spinoffs, but quite often they're more cohesive than trying to get a new franchise off the ground. Discuss.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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