Theo the garden snail

Turbo a predictable snail tale

An animated tale of a feisty snail who dreams of putting the “go” in escargot with a run at the Indianapolis 500, Turbo probably won’t win the summer animations sweepstakes, but neither does it crash and burn.


Two stars (out of four)

Rated: G

An animated tale of a feisty snail who dreams of putting the “go” in escargot with a run at the Indianapolis 500, Turbo probably won’t win the summer animations sweepstakes, but neither does it crash and burn.

Theo the garden snail, voiced by Canada’s Ryan Reynolds, is an ambitious little crawler who strains and trains to break his 17-minute “speed” record on a three-foot-long racetrack. He’s even given himself an ambitious nickname to add inspiration: Turbo.

Turbo is an outsider at The Plant (literally), a tomato patch where other snails are content to munch veggie spoils and leave sticky trails under the watchful stalked eyes of safety supervisor Chet (Paul Giamatti, in a bit of genius casting) who cautions about threats from crows above and a nasty tricycle-riding kid below.

Turbo’s hero-worship of French Canadian egomaniac Indy champ Guy Gagné (Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader, curiously sounding more like Antonio Banderas) borders on obsession. Chet, who disapproves of risks almost as much as he does fanciful dreams of glory, reminds his brother that he needs to keep his slimy foot on the ground and his head out of the clouds.

A meet-up with a street racer’s nitrous oxide fuel tank magically transforms Turbo into a spiral-shelled fireball. Finding himself far from The Plant, he teams up with fellow dreamer and Dos Bros Taco food truck driver Tito (Michael Peña) and his fine field of street-smart racing snails.

Tito has a dream-doubting sibling of his own, Angelo (Luis Guzmán), the other half of Dos Bros Tacos, which is struggling along with the other businesses at a rundown Van Nuys strip mall. But Tito knows he can take his spiral-shelled Rocky all the way to the Indy with the financial help of the mall’s ragtag bunch of business owners, voiced with hammy enthusiasm by Richard Jenkins, Michelle Rodriguez and Ken Jeong.

There are several funny bits in the script by Toronto’s David Soren (writing along with Darren Lemke and Robert Siegel), who also directs. Ever wonder how snails applaud? You’ll get your answer here.

The snail racers, headed by stern Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), is more a “collect all five!” cry for a kiddie meal product placement than memorable characters, although there is an amusing running gag with a corpulent snail who fancies himself the mysterious White Shadow (Michael Patrick Bell). Snoop Dog, Ben Schwartz and Maya Rudolph voice the rest of the wisecracking mollusc clan.

The story has some obvious parallels with previous animated flicks, most notably Disney’s Cars franchise, but Turbo doesn’t earn the same likability points as more fleshed-out characters like Lightning McQueen and lovable lug Mater.

Turbo’s colourful trek to product placement-littered Indianapolis is as rote as it gets, but little viewers won’t care about predictability. And while the exciting track scenes — three-time Indy winner Dario Franchitti was the main racing consultant — will get audiences in the speedy groove initially, things do wear on a bit. Even though our story is about snails, must it take so long to get where we know it’s going?

Just Posted

Two people die in Rocky-area collision

Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate

RDC launches week of activities focusing on student mental health

Learners invited to join the discussion at #MakeSomeTimeRDC

Husky Energy walks away from its hostile takeover bid for MEG Energy

CALGARY — Husky Energy Inc. is walking away from its hostile takeover… Continue reading

Facebook shuts hundreds of Russia-linked pages, accounts

LONDON — Facebook said Thursday it removed hundreds of Russia-linked pages, groups… Continue reading

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Canada’s Conners on his way to full PGA Tour card with fast start to 2019 season

Corey Conners was working on his putting last Friday when fellow Canadian… Continue reading

Canada’s Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov have advanced to… Continue reading

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

AP Exclusive: A peek at how Disney resort shows are made

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With excitement building over a new “Star… Continue reading

Justin Bieber’s ‘Steps to Stardom’ hometown exhibit makes plans for a book

STRATFORD, Ont. — Justin Bieber’s meteoric rise to pop stardom will be… Continue reading

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Most Read