Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Turbo": An Incredibly Fast Snail and Some Social Commentary 

Wednesday, Jul 17 2013

Though Dreamworks' Turbo is being promoted as an animated parody of the Fast & Furious series, its story of a snail called Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) who dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500 and teams up with Tito, a human with equally big dreams (Michael Peña), is closer in spirit to Pixar's Ratatouille. (A better model than Cars, definitely.) Turbo is co-written by Robert Siegel, screenwriter of The Wrestler and writer-director of the far superior Big Fan, which may account for Turbo's sense of being set in the real world, anthropomorphic snails notwithstanding: Tito is Mexican-American, and he and his brother Angelo (Luis Guzman) run a taco shop in a decaying Van Nuys strip mall. Though set in the present day — a smartphone video of the snail goes viral, then gets auto-tuned within minutes — Tito and Angelo use '90s-vintage cellphones and green-and-white dot-matrix printer paper. These are minor details, but the human protagonists being underrepresented people raises Turbo's emotional stakes, no small feat for a movie about a snail that can go 200 mph after an accidental nitrous oxide infusion. That superhero element does make Turbo's oft-stated "no dream is too big" theme a bit of a cheat, but on the other hand, there's a great telenovela joke. So it all evens out.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"