Turbo – Blu-ray Review

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Children’s animated films are starting to become a guaranteed moneymaker for studios. This summer we were treated to multiple children’s films, including DreamWorks’ summer submission, Turbo.

In Turbo, the film follows Theo, an ordinary garden snail who aspires to try and become a speedster. Obviously, nature has given him limitations on his quickness until a freak accident gave him the powers of superspeed. Theo/Turbo and his motley crew must work together to not only win the Indianapolis 500 but to save a fledgling strip mall as well.

On the whole, Turbo is an underdog story that combine the premises of both Cars and Ratatouille. Unlike the aforementioned Pixar films, Turbo features a very fantastical premise, even by kids’ standards. So does Turbo’s bizarre premise work or does it fall flat?

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While Turbo is entertaining and watchable at times, it’s truly a forgettable film. With the exception of Theo/Turbo, Chet and Tito, most of the characters are uninteresting and bland. Turbo’s dull snail crew barely serves any purpose other than progressing the story, and Tito’s companions are just there as comic relief.

Ultimately, you watch the film for Turbo’s journey as a “race car”, and Ryan Reynolds does a great job of bringing the character to life. Despite criticism about Reynolds in a lead role (see: Green Lantern and R.I.P.D.), he nails the part here. He gives emotion and heart to the character and delivers some of his humor as well. Paul Giamatti also does a great job as Theo’s brother, Chet. The character development, albeit predictable, is one that is a good contrast to Reynolds’ eccentric Theo.

While Turbo does have some entertaining scenes, it feels like a step back in storytelling for the animation studio, especially with How To Train Your Dragon, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda in their collection. The film is definitely a rental.

Movie grade: C+

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Video

The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Like many other animated films on Blu-ray, Turbo looks incredible. There’s not a moment in the movie where the contrast doesn’t positively impress. The details in each of the snails are also quite remarkable. It is easy to see the detail within each snail’s pimped out shells. Colors are also just as impressive. Even at the Starlight Plaza at nighttime, Turbo and the snail crew’s vivid purples, reds, greens and blues look fantastic. Overall, this is an excellent release from Fox.

Video grade: A+

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Audio

Turbo is presented in a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. The track excels in presenting everything with just right sense of harmony and balance, creating a realistic atmosphere in every location. The track offers a precision listening experience that profiles every single environmental dynamic with accuracy. There’s a nice sense of power and heftiness to the Indianapolis 500 scenes, and some of the low-key sound effects play very well with natural spacing, clarity, and faultless balance. Music, likewise, features the same characteristics such as playing with natural spacing and fine clarity. This is a superb soundtrack that should please listeners of all ages.

Audio grade: A+

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Special Features

Turbo contains a handful of family-friendly bonus features, including Champion’s Corner, Smoove Move’s Music Maker, Team Turbo: Tricked Out, a deleted scene where you meet Tito, a race storyboard sequence, and the usual DreamWorks special features (Be An Artist and World of DreamWorks animation). The small amount of special features would be great for a young child, but it can be shelved for anyone over the age of 10.

Special features grade: C

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1422 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.