Macaroni Movies: Review of "Turbo"

By Barbara Evangelista July 24, 2013

Poor "Turbo" is having a tough time getting attention at the movie theater right now -- our theater was completely, startlingly empty when we saw it -- but this movie is really wonderful for kids and thoroughly enjoyable.  I'm a tough critic with kids' movies but I found so much to like about "Turbo".  Yes, it has an incredibly farfetched storyline but what kids' movie doesn't?  It was engaging, funny, sweet, a little bit edgy but still totally appropriate for even a preschooler, and lots of fun too.

A quick plot summary... Turbo is a snail who dreams of racing but spends his days harvesting and eating tomatoes in a suburban garden with a whole crew of other snails.  He watches old racing videos in the garage at night and hero-worships one of the drivers. (And how does he get the tape in, work the remote, turn on the TV, you wonder? Did I mention it's farfetched?  Just set aside reality during the movie and enjoy it for what it is.)  One night he ventures away from the house and manages to get sucked into a nitrous oxide-powered car engine, which turns him into a speed demon able to tune in radio stations and light up his antenna eyes like headlights.  He's picked up by a taco truck driver, who likes to race snails and has a whole crew of amusing little racing snails.  After discovering that Turbo can move at lightning speed, his new friend Tito decides to enter him into the Indy 500.  Not possible, you say?  Racing viewers catch sight of Turbo and push the Indy 500 owner to allow him to race.  Turbo is faced with his hardest challenge yet in the race and he has to work hard to figure out how to adapt to the very hostile race course, especially when his racing hero is revealed to be less than heroic.

My children, 6, 9 and 10, all loved the movie and plucky little Turbo.  The movie was perfectly appropriate for little ones -- no bad language or racy material -- yet my tweens had a great time.  Kids older than 13 or so will find the storyline so silly and implausible that they probably won't enjoy it as much.  There was some stereotyping that could have been toned down a bit and several scary moments when Turbo was in danger.  It dragged a bit in the middle, as many movies do, but there were also many surprise laugh-out-loud moments.  The movie delivered valuable lessons -- don't give up, dream big, believe in yourself -- without being sappy or corny. 

Macaroni Movies is sponsored by Showcase Cinemas Lowell. Showcase Cinemas Lowell offers digital imaging and surround sound, 3-D technology, Bookworm Wednesdays (a program offering free family movies throughout the summer), and the Popcorn Club for kids and families. See any Showcase associate for details or visit their website.