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Turbo (Blu-ray Review)

TurboThe Indianapolis 500 hasn’t had a film with it as the subject in over 40 years.  The last time was the Paul Newman film Winning.  And even that one was the first film about the Indy 500 in 15 years.  Its one of the biggest events in the world and racing creates a whole lot of action and drama you’d think there’d be more cinematic tales of it.  There are legendary drivers and big time stories of incredible finishes.  Alas, this past summer the Indy 500 returned to theaters in the form of the animated film Turbo (hook ‘em while they’re young, eh?).  The Ryan Reynolds and Paul Giamatti voiced film opened to a checkered flag of maybe too many competitors as 3 other films opened the same weekend.  Box office numbers aside, how was the film?  Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, now isn’t it?

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Film     

Theo, a snail, dreams of one day becoming the fastest Indycar driver there ever was.  His love for all things speed makes him somewhat of an outsider amongst his peers and an embarrassment to his brother.  After an accident involving a lawn mower and a tomato at the “plant” shows Theo’s speed is that of an ordinary snail, he leaves the community.  Accidentally winding up amidst a street race, Theo gets sucked up into a NOS tank of a supped up car.  Theo then becomes like his nickname “Turbo”, having the ability to charge up and go at incredible speeds like a car with a NOS tank.  Discovered by a local taco stand owner, the two work to make Turbo’s dream of running in the Indy 500 a reality.

Turbo didn’t take the box office by storm this summer, failing to make back its money domestically.  It did do really well overseas to compensate for that.  It opened during a completely clogged weekend, giving Ryan Reynolds 2 “bombs” opening in the same weekend (the other being RIPD).  Its opening weekend was merely okay, but in an overstuffed environment it wasn’t able to have any legs to speak of.

The movie itself is a decent little one that I think aims more toward pleasing the younger ones than trying to balance it out for the adults like so many of these movies reach for nowadays.  There was some fun to be had with it and a lot of the racing scenes prove to be good eye candy and bring some excitement.  I don’t know that I’d ever pick it up to watch again on my own again, but I also thought it was a pretty okay film overall.  But, I’m also giving the film the concession that it wasn’t made to over joy and please the 31 year old me.  My son is only 21 months and it did grab his attention for the majority of it and he laughed a few times, but I think he’s a little too young to gauge his thoughts.  I’m sure he’ll give it a go again in the near future, however.

I really enjoyed the cast in this one.  It’s comprised of a lot of talent that I enjoy in their live action forms.  Aside from the leads Ryan Reynolds and Paul Giamatti, you get Richard Jenkins, Luis Guzman, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Ken Jeong and Samuel L Jackson as well as some actual Indycar drivers.  They all kind of raise this film a few bars up from what it may have been without them.  I’m not saying voice talent specialists wouldn’t have been any good, just that for me, recognizing these voices and getting some good performances out of them lifted it up and made it more interesting for me.

Dreamworks’ Turbo is a decent little film that is more for the kids than adults.  Its got some fun performances and characters, but there’s really not much to it.  The film displays plenty of bright colors, effects and bouncing songs.  There are a lot better animated films out there, but there are far far worse than Turbo.  For what it is, its decent and your kids will probably enjoy it plenty.

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Video     

Turbo’s 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture is like most animated films, it’s reference quality.  The colors are bold, right and distinct.  Every little detail is full visible and the textures prove to be real-like.  Characters and places are sharp.  The black levels are quite good.  Image quality is far from an issue here in the 2:35.1 frame.  Even in a movie that features things at high speed, the image is always impressively crisp and well defined.  The little things that don’t even need to be highly defined are extremely well detailed.  This a really fantastic transfer.  Pats on the back to every involved on this Blu-ray.

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Audio     

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 track on Turbo is outstanding.  Every race is almost an in-person simulation.  Every speaker is active ever thump is accounted for.  The vocals are clear and the effects are nice, distinct and discernable.  There’s plenty of bumping music in the score, but never does it distract or takeaway from the action at hand.  From Turbo’s charging up and boosting to lawn mowers dicing up tomatoes, this track is really impressive.  Crank it up, it truly enhances the experience of the film

Additional Audio Tracks:  English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1, Estonian Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1, Latvian Dolby Digital 5.1, Lithuanian Dolby Digital 5.1, Ukrainian Dolby Digital 5.1

Turbo

Extras     

This edition of Turbo comes with a DVD copy of the movie as well as a Digital copy.  The extras don’t provide much in the way of learning much about the production or making of the film.  Instead they are tailored for kids to have an extended experience after watching the movie.

Champions Corner (HD, 5:00) – A Sportscenter-like show having an interview with Turbo post-race.

Smoove Moves Music Maker (HD, 12:47) – Highlights the musical moments in the film.

Team Turbo: Tricked Out (HD, 2:43) – A promo piece covering the race enhancements on the snails in the film.

Meet Tito: Deleted Scene (HD, 2:03) – An alternate introduction to the character of Tito, intro’d by the direction.  The animation is storyboard form.

The Race: Storyboard Sequence (HD, 2:25) – The original storyboards for the street race scene in which Turbo gets his ability.

Be An Artist! (HD, 1:00:56) – Instruction on drawing the characters from the film.  ALL OF THEM!

Shell Creator – A feature that allows you to create your own snail racer using your choice of character from the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)

Sneak Peek – Trailers for The Croods, Shrek The Musical, How To Train Your Dragon television series, Turbo F.A.S.T., Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, Epic, How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda TV episode collections

World Of Dreamworks Animation – Musical numbers from Shrek, Madagascar, How To Train Your Dragon and The Croods.

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Summary     

Turbo is a decent film coming in with a masterful presentation from Dreamworks.  The audio and visuals are absolutely outstanding and the overall highlight of this release.  It’s a film for the little ones more than the older crowd, and the extras certainly reflect that.  If you’re an adult and curious, one watch won’t do you any harm.  I was ok with it.  This is definitely recommended for the kiddos though.  They should have plenty of fun with the film and some of the extras.


Turbo-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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