Kids, grab your 3D glasses and start your engines. Theo is a snail with a dream, and that dream is to do what snails don't do best—race. Turbo, a 3D film from DreamWorks Animation that hits theaters today, is all about believing in yourself, persevering—and getting a little help from friends along the way.
From the moment we first see Theo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), imagining himself as a contestent in a champion auto race a la the Indy 500, we know he's hooked. The visually arresting sequence (there are many in this 3D film) has Theo studying famous French racer Guy Gagne (Bill Hader) and testing himself, getting out the ruler and trying to beat his "fastest" time from one end to another.
Let's just say two-plus minutes may be great when you're talking half-miles—not when you're talking one foot.
His love of racing actually makes him an outcast in his happily slow community of snails, whose job it is to work in a suburban L.A. garden. Theo's brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), a marshmallowy snail that might as well have "middle management" stamped on his shell, is often exasperated with his younger brother, who doesn't seem to fit in with the otherwise careful group.
When Theo tries to outsmart a lawnmower to save a juicy garden tomato, well, it's not only fruits and veggies that get a little bruised in the garden. Egos get squashed when Theo and Chet are ousted.
His hopes dashed, Theo visits a bridge that overlooks the 101 Freeway (an auto race in its own way), he makes a big wish—and gets it.
After falling into the engine of a car, Theo takes on the characteristics of a race car—the lights, the music and, best of all, the speed. When he returns (quickly) to his brother to tell him the news, both Chet and Theo/Turbo get swept up by young taco truck driver Tito (Michael Pena).
Turns out Tito runs a snail-racing game at his struggling Dos Bros taco shop in Van Nuys that he shares with his much more practical brother, Angelo (Luis Guzman).
Enter a group of other racing snails, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Maya Rudolph, among others. While they don't have super-powers, their attitudes are hilariously large and in charge.
When Tito discovers Turbo's racing ability, everything goes into overdrive and they try to make it to the real Indy 500 to actually compete alongside race cars—and Turbo's idol, Guy Gagne.
While the movie is a little slow (not to say a snail's pace) in the beginning, once Turbo and Chet meet up with the Dos Bros taco guys, the story and action really take off.
Turbo's trash talking with the Dos Bros snail crew is also a funny addition, giving Samuel L. Jackson one of the best lines in the movie (which I won't ruin for you here).
The 3D film is perhaps best for younger viewers, who can always use the inspiring message that you actually can fulfill your dreams, with a little determination and luck.
CC thought the movie was great and couldn't stop singing an Auto-Tune spoof that was featured in the film, called "That Snail Is Fast."