This unlikely, upbeat story of a snail with a need for speed is one of the summer’s better family films
The enduring popularity of the lovable minion characters in the Despicable Me franchise proved to be too much of an obstacle for Turbo to overcome at the US box office, but a delayed UK release pushes this DreamWorks animation over the finishing line as one of the summer’s better family films.
It’s the unlikely, upbeat story of a snail called Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500. Turbo is frustrated with his job at The Plant, a factory run by snails for messily harvesting tomatoes. After accidentally swallowing some nitrous oxide, Turbo finds himself blessed with super-speed, and quickly graduates from small-time snail racing to the big time and a shot at realising his dreams, competing against racing driver Guy Gagne (Bill Hader).
David Soren’s film avoids too much of the slapstick violence that often mars family films, and sets thoughtful obstacles in Turbo’s path. Despite the heavy use of popular music on the soundtrack, Turbo is definitely a film that skews towards pre-teens and doesn’t have the mature resonances of Toy Story or How To Train Your Dragon. But with a bright production design enlivened by strong 3D, and a simple, likeable story about self-actualisation, it’s a slow but sure winner.
General release from Fri 18 Oct.