Turbo (Blu-ray)

November 15, 2013 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I recently re-watched Toy Story the other day and realized how far we’ve come in computer-animated films.  Granted the movie is now over 15 years old, but it can’t be denied that the film really set the bar for modern day animated. It gave birth to the 3D-look and feel of films that we’re so accustomed to seeing.  Pixar really did set the pace and tone early on, but Dreamworks was quick to follow and has made a name for itself over the years.  Their claim to fame, animation wise, is of course the Shrek series but right up there are some other films like Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs. Aliens to name a few.  The thing with these computer animated films and I suppose animation in general, is that they can make the most mundane things seem interesting.  I mean, a movie about a snail who wants to compute in the Indy 500?  Try pitching that as a live action movie and then get laughed out of the office!  But in the digital world, literally anything is possible.  And so we have Turbo. The story of a typical garden snail with aspirations of making it to the big time.  Only thing is…he’s a snail.

Theo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) wants to be fast. Really fast.  He watches his idol, Guy Gagné (voiced by Bill Hader), as he takes the checkered flag on every race he enters.  Theo’s brother, Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti) seems the more down to earth of the duo (pardon the deliberate pun) and is always the voice of reason.  But as fate would have it, Theo was meant for bigger things. So when Theo is accidentally sucked into the intake of a car and “injected” with Nitrous Oxide (aka laughing gas), things start to happen…If you’ve ever seen any of the Fast and the Furious films then you’ll know that Nitrous is the thing that gives the cars that extra kick. It’s not long after this happens that Theo realizes he’s got a lot more ‘get up and go’ than he used to have.  He’s summarily captured by Taco-preneur Tito (voiced by Michael Peña) and introduced to a group of “racing snails” led by Slingshot (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson).  Tito realizes the potential in Theo (now called Turbo) and enters him in the Indy 500.  Can a snail win the Indy 500?  Why not?

Truthfully Turbo isn’t the most original movie in the world.  Then again, pretty much every movie these days is a rip off of something else. And it might be argued that this film has some striking similarities to Pixar’s Cars.  So what?  I’m a 40 year old guy and I was entertained while watching this movie – sue me.  I’m a big fan of Ryan Reynolds as an actor and though I really don’t see the point in paying A-list Hollywood actors millions of dollars for their voice work – this might be the exception.  We’re presented with the talents of Bill Hader, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Ken Jeong (yep, that one) just to name a few.  Yes, the story is a bit predictable but I liked the use of the ensemble cast. For me, it really made the movie work.  I’m also pleased to see Samuel L. Jackson getting some work as we never see or hear from him nowadays.  That’s great!  While Turbo won’t go down as one of my favorite animated movies, I have to say that I literally laughed out loud a few times (notably anytime the words “White Shadow” were mentioned) and and a good time.  Check your brain at the door, the kids will be entertained and the adults just might be as well.  Recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

The words “computer animation” and “Blu-ray” should be more than enough to let the viewer know they’re in for a treat and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie like this that has disappointed.  What am I trying to say, exactly?  Ok, Turbo looks amazing on Blu-ray as it should.  The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is literally perfect in every way, shape and form.  The detail is amazing, the colors pop, there’s nothing that can even remotely be considered a flaw and it’s indicative of what we’ve come to expect from Blu-ray and especially these computer-generated films. I could go on and on, but there’s really no need – this easily receives a perfect rating.

Audio: How’s it sound?

You wouldn’t think a movie about a snail would generate such noise from the speakers. You would be mistaken.  The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is just as impressive as the visuals.  Turbo’s high-pitched sound mimics the whir of an Indy race car and makes for an immersive experience.  Vocals are pristine and crisp and just hearing Ken Jeong play a woman is enough to make me chuckle while writing this.  The expansive 360 degree sound stage does a great job at putting the viewer front and center and I’m hard-pressed to say much more about this. Like the video presentation, this audio is top notch.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Admittedly, the supplements for Turbo are more aimed at kids, with some interactive games and a “build your own snail” feature to boot. But there are some interesting features, so let’s take a look.

  • Champion’s Corner – Turbo is interviewed in an ESPN-like newscast.
  • Smoove Move’s Music Maker – Six pseudo-music videos are included that were featured in the film. Tunes included are Speedin’, The Snail is Fast, Back to Indiana, Jump Around, Let the Bass Go and Eye of the Tiger.
  • Team Turbo: Tricked Out – We get an “in-depth” (get it) look at the shell covers that the snails wear in the movie.
  • Deleted Scene – We’re treated to a very basic deleted scene (in pure animated form) – “Meet Tito.”
  • “The Race” Storyboard Sequence – Director David Soren shows us a storyboard for the ending scene complete with the final product in the corner of the screen.
  • Be and Artist! – Dave Burgess, head of Character Animation, shows us how to draw some of the main characters from the film. I have no artistic ability whatsoever, so I’m consistently in awe of those that possess the ability to draw.
  • Shell Creator – Aimed at kids, this allows you to customize your snail from a pre-selected palette.  I didn’t calculate how many possible designs there are, but it might keep the kids busy for a while.
  • Trailer – The original trailer for the film is included as are some for other Dreamworks titles like The Croods and Shrek the Musical.
  • World of Dreamworks Animation – Some music videos from Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and The Croods.
  • DVD/UltraViolet Copy

Turbo in 60 Seconds…

[youtube id=”Rg0na5YXHAs” width=”640″ height=”360″]

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