Wow…2013 really was an amazing year for racing movies. Not only did we get ‘RUSH‘ the best open-wheel racing movie of all time (definitely better than ‘Grand Prix‘) but a younger generation of kids were introduced to the excitement of IndyCar racing through DreamWorks Studios animated masterpiece ‘TURBO‘
People, people, people…this is a movie about a snail that races in the Indy 500. You can just ignore the movie reviewers at the Toronto Star and the Village Voice complaining about the lack or character development. The characters are diverse and interesting and for God’s sake it’s a cartoon about a snail!
A modern-day re-imagining of Rocky, except racing instead of boxing, a snail instead of Stallone…you get the picture. The underdog is going to take on The Champ, and he is wracked with self-doubt when he finally comes face to face with his big moment. Kids loved the cute cartoons, parents got all the inside jokes, and gearheads could not believe the level of detail that the IndyCar squeezed into the film.
The film includes a cartoon version of Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon IndyCar playing a central role in the racing sequences, and he briefly demonstrates his voice talents as the Australian news anchor! Power’s nemesis, the dastardly Dario Franchitti (technical advisor on the film) served as the obvious inspiration for Guy Gagne, the villain who will do anything to win, including squashing little Turbo!
The voice talents of Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Snoop Dogg (OG from the LBC)) and Dr. Ken Jeong (The Hangover) give the movie a rich, textured sound. And the movie also includes strong female roles like Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) and Michelle Rodrigues. That’s right; Letty from the Fast & Furious films is a mechanic on Turbo’s crew!
The movie has a lot of heart. It’s all about brotherly love, and the scenes at Dos Bros Tacos are some of the best in the movie, and the characters of Tito and Angelo show the unconditional support we give to those we love, and even mirrors the relationship between protagonist snails Turbo and his big brother Chet (how’s that for character development, Rotten Tomatoes).
The final scene in the movie deserves some recognition. After a massive last-lap crash, the finish line is blocked, and the winner of the Indy 500 rests in limbo. Turbo is trying to glide to the checkered flag, slow as a snail. The evil Guy Gagne climbs out of his car and drags his damaged racing machine towards the finish line. This is just like Jack Brabham pushing his car at Sebring in 1959, an exhausted Nigel Mansell forcing his car across the line at the 1984 US Grand Prix, and even Fred Flintstone carrying his No. 8 race car across the line at the Indianrockolis 500. Art imitates life imitates art.