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'Turbo' - accelerates your dreams (Movie Review)

By Troy Ribeiro, Film: "Turbo"; Voiceovers: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Luis GuzmAin, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, Richard Jenkins, Snoop Dogg and Michelle Rodriguez; Director: David Soren; Rating: **


"No dream is too big and no dreamer too small". This is the mantra of this simple underdog sports movie, which spurs the audience to pursue one's dreams.

It is an animated tale of Theo, the snail who dreams big after being motivated by a French car-racing champion, Guy Gagne, whom he hero worships by watching late night TV and VHS cassettes of his idol.

Adventurous and inspired, Theo moves out of his comfort zone to explore his surroundings and one day, accidentally falls into the engine of a car that contains nitrous oxide. And lo and behold, he gets magically transformed from a sluggish to a speedy snail.

With this sudden power of speed, he longs to realise his dream of being a car racer. He rechristens himself as Turbo and parades himself before his clan. But will he crash and burn into the real world? This is the question thrown in by his colleagues and brother.

Soon circumstances make him move away from home to a run-down strip mall into the care of Tito, a truck driver selling tacos, whose hobby is snail racing. On noticing Turbo's speed, Tito is kicked into making Turbo participate in the Indianapolis 500 car rally.

Turbo's protective older brother, Chet worries that Turbo is aiming too high in thinking he can become a speed demon. But Turbo chants his mantra, which his hero, Guy repeatedly expresses "No dream is too big".

As Turbo takes up this challenge, his worried brother Chet asks him: "What happens if you wake up tomorrow and find most of your power gone?" Turbo replies: "I'll make the most of it today". Stimulating!

The plot smoothly progresses, interrupting periodically for musical montages featuring rap tunes. But the scenarios witnessed also bring along strong feelings of deja vu. What different is this snail who longs to be a racer from a rodent who longs to be a chef in "Ratatouille"? Or that building up to a big auto race set in Indianapolis different from one set in "Cars" and at the very end, there's even a brief nod to "Transformers".

But the contrast in the premise is what makes "Turbo" appealing. Especially, a snail tracking in excess of 200 mph is absurd but in "Turbo" this is made believable.

The cocky yet vulnerable energy that Ryan Reynolds gives the little snail Turbo, works wonder. Giamatti as Chet, Samuel L. Jackson as Whiplash and Michael Pena as Tito are excellent. The fellow snail racers voiced by Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, Samuel L. Jackson and owners of establishments in the mall, voiced by Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong and Michelle, just fit the bill.

Director David Soren, in his first animated feature, manages to keep things moving faster than a speeding TURBO. The script manages to create a very entertaining ride with the 3D element.

Kids are bound to love this film, as for the adults they would find "Turbo" a bit trivial.

--IANS (Posted on 19-07-2013)

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