Turbo: Tale of Underdog Snail

From the makers of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and The Croods, TURBO is a high-velocity 3D comedy about an underdog snail whose dreams kick into overdrive when he miraculously attains the power of super-speed.

But after making fast friends with a crew of streetwise, tricked-out es-car-goes, Turbo learns that no one succeeds on their own. So he puts his heart and shell on the line to help his pals achieve their dreams, before Turbo-charging his own impossible dream: winning the Indy 500.

Turbo is a little guy with big dreams. Not satisfied with living life at a snail’s pace, he has a powerful and resolute need for speed. Turbo trains tirelessly, measuring his progress with a yard stick. (His new record: covering the 36-inch-long “track”…in 17 minutes.) Turbo’s single-minded goal is to compete in the greatest race in the world: the Indy 500.

When we meet Turbo, he’s somewhat of an outcast in the snail community, which is less about big dreams and more about punching a time clock at their place of employment (and principal source of nourishment) – the [tomato] “plant.” Turbo’s brother Chet, whose credo is, safety first, last and only, shares the community’s insistence on a snail-paced routine. Chet loves his brother, but he is concerned that Turbo’s obsession with all things fast could lead to disaster – or worse!
Leaving the plant behind, Turbo begins his journey to fulfill his dreams when he is swept from a freeway overpass onto the hood of a sports car, and is then propelled into the muscle car’s air intake valve. Explosive nitrous oxide charges every atom of Turbo’s body, altering his molecular structure. The freak accident infuses Turbo with incredible speed – he can reach 200 miles per hour – and he now blazes across the streets of Los Angeles like a neon bullet.

But even a turbo-charged Turbo can’t accomplish miracles on his own. Luckily, fate intervenes again, when Turbo and Chet are captured by a Tito, the co-proprietor (with his brother Angelo) of a Van Nuys, California-based taco truck. Tito’s sideline – and his true passion – is pitting snails against one another in not-so-fast-and-furious racing competitions.

At the race’s home base, the Starlight Plaza, Turbo meets the “Racing Snails,” a ragtag group with shells that look like mini-street racing cars. Their pimped-out exteriors are complemented by their trash-talking personalities.

The Racing Snails make fast friends with Turbo, and together they begin a journey of adventure, bonding and family,

TURBO, says director and co-screenwriter David Soren, is a mash-up of superhero and racing film genres, but “at its heart, TURBO really is an underdog story. The character Turbo has all the hallmarks of an underdog. You expect nothing of snails, whose lives are stacked with obstacles, like being really, really slow. But once you dig into it, a snail is the perfect character to have at the center of an underdog story.”
But turning an everyday, garden snail into a mighty mollusk who travels at super-speed? “Turbo’s dream of becoming something that’s completely in opposition to its nature is ripe for conflict, surprises and a satisfying payoff” when the dream becomes reality,” says Soren.

Soren came up with the idea for TURBO almost a decade ago. He described it to DreamWorks Animation management at one of the company’s “pitch program” conclaves, at which DreamWorks employees can pitch their ideas for possible future projects. “At the time it was a very complex idea – the ‘Fast and Furious with Snails,’” he remembers.

As he developed the idea, Soren was inspired by events and people very close to home. His primary muse, he notes, “was my young son, who since before he could talk has been obsessed with toy cars and racing, and could identify virtually any car on the street by its make and model.”

Soren also found motivation in his own front yard, which had a “snail problem” that was eating away at his tomato plants. “This marriage of the slow [the snails] and speed [his son’s preoccupation] was the catalyst that led me to the bones of the story centered on a snail who dreams of racing glory.”