Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vivid velocity

Zooming just a little past clichés and stock situations, “Turbo” is clean and cute, an adequate cartoon about pursuing and achieving dreams. The underdog dreamer this time is a snail, Theo, who becomes the unstoppable super-speedster Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). He hopes to compete in a car race that’s never had non-human contenders (and victors) before.
“Turbo” is a feelgood caper; it keeps us interested in its quirky characters, even when we’ve seen them in other incarnations countless times before. The snail as the ultimate underdog works; we get to witness their “culture” and how they’ve just accepted their place in the food chain. Turbo getting powers (primarily super-speed and light projection) makes the impossible dream attainable, but it requires everyone to help out. Achieving this particular goal needs the participation of his brother Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti), the human brothers Angelo and Tito (Luis Guzman and Michael Peña), and other characters.

There’s sibling revelry, expectedly, even after the more sensible siblings attempt to convince their younger, optimistic brothers to abandon their “foolhardy” ventures. It’s very predictable, but it’s still quite enjoyable; a bright and playful palette is used, and character designs vary and coexist well. Also, the aging race car champ Guy Gagne (Bill Hader) is an amusing, super-competitive rival and a nice foil to the humble and hyper-fast Turbo.

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