Turbo: Racing Snails in 3D

The 3D animated comedy, “Turbo,” is a pleasant enough, if not special or distinguished, tale of yet another outsider, an underdog snail who miraculously attains super-speed powers.

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The film is moralistic and messagey in the way that most Disney and DreamWorks animations are, namely the importance of true bonds and friendship, collaboration and team work, and commitment.

Here, after making fast friends with a crew of streetwise, tricked-out es-car-goes, Turbo must learn that no one is an island, that no one succeeds on their own. Once he absorbs this lesson, Turbo puts all his resources (his heart and shell) on the line to help his pals achieve their dreams, before Turbo attains his own impossible dream: winning the Indy 500.

The character and its traits are well familiar: Turbo is another little guy with big aspirations. Not satisfied with living at a snail’s pace, he has a 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 greatest race in the world.

When first met, Turbo is an outcast in the snail community, whose existence boils down to punching a time clock at his place of employment and principal source of food, the tomato “plant.”

Turbo’s brother, Chet, could not have been more different. Steering clear of risk, he believes that safety should come first, and that stability in the snail-paced routines is desired. Chet loves his brother, but he is concerned that Turbo’s obsession could lead to disaster.

Unfazed, Turbo leaves the plant behind, embarking on a long journey to fulfill his dreams. The road is full of obstacles and challenges: 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 Turbo’s body, altering his molecular structure.

But the freak accident infuses Turbo with incredible speed , and he can now reach 200 miles per hour, blazing across Los Angeles like a neon bullet. But even a turbo-charged Turbo can’t accomplish miracles on his own. 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 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,