Directed by: David Soren

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ken Jeong

2013 has undoubtedly been a huge year for 3D cartoon adventures.  In past years, there has typically been one, possibly two big animated films.  But now, it feels like they’re hitting theaters every week.  In a fairly short timeframe, The Croods, Epic, Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University have all arrived at the box office, and we’re not done.  Planes will land in August.  In the nearer term, this weekend’s Turbo is just another fun entry into this summer of animated movies.

Theo/Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a garden snail living in suburban California.  His days consist of working in a tomato garden plant where the snails harvest food all day long.  Turbo’s brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) is a manager in the garden.  Chet is content with the slow yet busy life of snails.  Much to Chet’s chagrin, Turbo is obsessed with speed racing.  He is constantly watching racing on television.  His favorite racer is a French-Canadian champion named Guy Gagne (Bill Hader).  Turbo is constantly trying to race and go fast, even though speed is a physical impossibility for a snail. 

After a big fight with his brother Chet, Turbo crawls off to be by himself and ends up getting sucked into a car engine during a drag race.  When the car’s driver hits the nitrous oxide, Turbo’s body somehow fuses with the nitro.  The nitrous oxide enables Turbo to move faster than lightning. Unfortunately, Turbo is unable to control his newfound speed at first.  Not accustomed to moving so quickly, he causes a huge accident in the garden.  As a result, he and his brother are fired from the tomato garden plant.

Soon thereafter, Turbo and Chet are plucked out of obscurity by Tito (Michael Pena), a taco truck driver involved in snail racing at a dilapidated plaza.  Tito enters the brothers in a snail race. The other snails in the race include Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg), Burn (Maya Rudolph), White Shadow (Michael Bell), and others.  Turbo blows the other snails away during the race and Tito is amazed by Turbo’s sheer speed.  Tito and his fellow mall mates decide to try to enter Turbo into the Indy 500.  The rest of the film follows Turbo’s improbable journey from the tomato garden to racing’s grandest stage.

Turbo is an incredibly fun animated film.  While I don’t think it’s on the level of this summer’s other blockbuster animated flicks (Monsters University or Despicable Me 2), Turbo has a little something to offer everyone.  The message behind the movie is incredibly positive – no dream is too big and no dreamer is too small.  Even though Turbo’s physical attributes render it impossible for him to go fast, he never gives up.  He ignores all of the naysayers, even his own brother, to pursue his dreams.  He is not content to just survive as a snail; he wants to live.  It is a great message for children encouraging them not to let their circumstances define their destiny.

The animation in Turbo is eye-catching and colorful.  Kids of all ages will certainly enjoy the intense sports action.  Parents may even find something in the movie for them too.  Sarcastic car racing announcers, retorts from Samuel L. Jackson, and some witty dialogue are enough to keep everyone chuckling during the film.  Although Turbo is a simple film, there is something incredibly heart-warming and endearing about this snail’s struggle to defy all odds and just race.

Turbo earns a 0.06% rating.  Since it is animated fare, I would suggest a root beer with this one (for the kids).  Parents, I can understand if you need to imbibe something a little stronger after having to take your children to so many animated flicks this summer.