Ryan Reynolds is an actor I think can be both charming and clever if he is given the right material. The good stuff he is in can sometimes be both funny and clever, but the bad stuff he's in cannot be very pleasant. I bring this up because I think something similar happened to him in animated movies. In the same year, Reynolds appeared in both of DreamWorks' two animated movies and where I found "The Croods" pretty good, the same could not be said for "Turbo". In short, this film is kind of stupid. It has some cleverness to it with the idea of a snail getting super speed, but the film is mostly bogged down by a ridiculous premise, some weird animation choices, unmemorable characters and lots and lots of stupid moments. Here's why this movie doesn't exactly work.
A garden snail named Theo, who goes under the nickname Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) loves the world of sports racing and dreams of becoming a very fast racer. Though his older brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) feels that he has his head in the clouds too often and tells him to stop with his ridiculous daydreaming especially after he causes an accident involving a tomato. After leaving the garden in embarrassment, Turbo accidentally falls into a sports car and gets covered in nitrous oxide which effects his DNA and gives him super speed. Afterward, he and Chet are then captured by a taco truck driver named Tito (Micheal Peña) and ends up impressing everyone at a rundown strip mall where he works. With some motivation and confidence, Tito convinces the others to try to enter Turbo into the Indy 500 in hopes to bring back customers if they win. So, can Turbo get into the Indy 500 and win the race? Is this movie way too predictable and stupid? Well, yeah.
The major problem I had with "Turbo" were the many stupid moments that occurred throughout the movie. For instance, after Turbo gets his DNA infected, he doesn't just get the ability of super speed. No, he actually gets features of a car. Yeah, he can have headlights come out of his eye, his shell can set off a car alarm and at times he can blast music from his mouth like a radio. It honestly makes no sense. And yeah, I know it's an animated movie and I'm not supposed to take things too seriously, but the fact is that he should have only gotten super speed after being infected. How he got those random car features makes no sense whatsoever. There's also lots of product placement shoved into this film as well notably from companies like AAA, HP and particularly Verizon. Seeing their logos placed all over the film was so distracting that it really caught me off guard at times. As for the story itself, it's kind of ridiculous. I mean, the idea of a snail getting faster is not a bad premise, but the idea of him entering a race like the Indy 500 is just too silly. Not only that, the film reminded me way too much of other movies. An example would be the scenes where Turbo is seen glancing at his hero racer on the TV similar to how Remy looked up to Gusteau in "Ratatouille". The animation, I like for the most part. The environments of the film are fantastic. It really looks real and the attention to detail in the backgrounds in pristine. Even the human designs aren't that bad, but the snails' designs didn't work for me. They looked way too much like a cartoon and stood out too much due to their bright colors. As for the characters, it's kind of the same as the animation. I like the humans particularly the ones at the strip mall. The snails, on the other hand, are mostly run of the mill. Turbo is a typical hero who has a dream, there's this group of snails he gets with that are just cool all the time and that's pretty much it, and his brother is just the typical stick in the mud. There's nothing special about it.
And honestly, there's not much special about "Turbo" anyway. It just feels run of the mill. It has some ideas going for it, but it's execution at times is pretty questionable and honestly really stupid. It's definitely DreamWorks' weakest entry in 2013 animated movies. I don't know if I can bring much else to the table. It's just kind of stupid. As for the grade it gets, I think Turbo's number might be the best score for it.