Turbo – real name Theo – is an ordinary garden snail who dreams of greatness. Obsessed with motor sports, he dreams of one day racing in the Indianapolis 500. A freak encounter with a souped-up street drag-racer (he gets sucked into the engine) sees his body gain the power of a race car ... and he sees his dream become a possibility.
DreamWorks has still not quite reached the greatness of Pixar (although How to Train Your Dragon is right up there). But it does keep trying, and in the meantime, films like Turbo will fill the gap nicely.
With his new powers, Turbo rescues brother Chet (Giamatti) from a gang of crows (who can't speak, while the snails can ... go figure) and the pair become part of a snail-racing squad at a local strip mall. When Turbo's abilities are revealed, taco van driver Tito (Peña) sees his chance to make a fortune.
Turbo feels a little like Cars crossed with Ratatouille. It has the timeless story of the underdog trying to make an impossible dream come true, but it's got enough warmth and charm to overcome its flaws. The voice cast is top-notch, particularly Reynolds in the lead role, and there's enough humour to keep all ages engaged with the story.
The animation, too, is terrific – but hey, these days we expect the CGI to be flawless, don't we. The racing scenes, especially, are beautifully done. Turbo is not going to set the world alight, but it's a sweet, energetic and fairly funny film with a valid message at its heart – and it's well worth taking for a spin around the track.
EXTRAS ★★★ The featurette Champion's Corner (5:00), a mock post-race TV interview with Turbo; Smovoe Move's Music Maker (12:47), which consists of inspired music videos for the tracks Speedin' (1:52), The Snail is Fast (1:03), Back to Indiana (1:47), Jump Around (1:23), Let the Bass Go (3:59), and Eye of the Tiger (3:02); the deleted scene Meet Tito (2:03), in hand-drawn form; the storyboard sequence The Race (2:25); the featurette Be An Artist (1:00:56), which has Head of Character Animation Dave Burgess showing us how to draw Turbo and otehr characters from the film; Shell Creator, an interactive feature which lets you digitally create and customise your own racing shell; the theatrical trailer; some Sneak Peek trailers for other DreamWorks titles; and World of DreamWorks Animation, whihc consists of music videos from Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and The Croods.