Director: David Soren
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L. Jackson
Running time: 96 minutes
Turbo, the latest 3-D animated feature from Dreamworks, tells the story of a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who feels the need for speed. Like a young Tom Cruise glistening with beach volleyball sweat, Turbo longs to be a different kind of snail, the kind that goes fast. His community, and especially his brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), don't understand Turbo's dream. In fact, he's the laughing stock of the snail world.
During one long night of the soul, Turbo takes a slither along the bright lights of the freeway. After accidentally (ahem) falling into traffic, his body becomes dosed with nitrous oxide and he finds that he now functions like a car? His shell plays music like a metal filling channeling an AM radio station. His eyes light up like high beams. He can move really, really fast. Now, Turbo's in pole position to live out his dream of winning the Indianapolis 500.
Here's the thing, though. I'm a grown-ass person. I like artsy movies about wistful staring contests between actors and rain-bleary window panes. How was I supposed to wrap my head around Turbo without fathering a child of my own, watching that child grow up, making that child sandwiches, experiencing the wonders of Nerf devices and mediocre children's programming with that child, thus allowing me to see these things through the eyes of a child?
I borrowed someone's kid.
What follows is a conversation between me and Asa Bry, 8-year-old son of Complex Music Editor Dave Bry.
Did you recognize the voices for any of the characters during the movie?
When the credits rolled did you recognize any of the names, like Samuel L. Jackson?
I noticed Snoop.
Was it weird hearing Snoop Dogg’s voice in a kids movie?
What do you think of Snoop?
I think he's probably in a lot of movies, because I saw another cartoon movie where he did a voice.
What does he have in common with snails?
Well, I don’t really know.
I think of them both as being pretty slow, relaxed people, in as much as snails can be considered people. Do you remember what he was playing in the other cartoon you saw him in?
He was this very magical, tiny creature. He was working with the bad guys, but it turned out he was actually one of the good guys.
There was a time when Snoop had a bad reputation. You know Snoop's a rapper?
I think Snoop's usually a good guy. But I realized that David Bowie, in the two movies I saw him in, he was the bad guy both times. The most evil bad guy!
What do you think about musicians acting in movies? Does it make you listen to their music differently?
I find that it can be hard to take them seriously. Their off-screen celebrity pulls me out of the experience. I'm constantly thinking about the fact that that person is a successful musician. Like, I’m constantly thinking about the fact that they are a musician, you know? Do you have that experience?
Um, sort of.
What kind of movies do you typically like?
I like fantasy stuff. Usually things with monsters and magic. I don't really have a favorite movie, but I do have some favorite TV shows. My top three are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Soul Eater.
How Turbo got his speed—did that feel like magic to you?
Not really. I think of magic as spells. It's sort of magic, because there's the magic stuff that comes out behind him so he can be fast, like fuel from a car or something.
It's this fuel called nitrous oxide. I only know this because of the Fast & Furious movies. You put a device that pumps nitrous oxide into your engine. Or something like that. I don't know anything about cars.
What was one of the funniest parts?
I liked when Turbo was racing the other snails, near the beginning, and he was imagining all of them going really fast with colors around them, getting fast and amazing. But then it showed that they were actually really slow and struggling to get to the finish line.
Did it work for you when that device came back in the end, when Turbo was imagining that the racecars in the Indianapolis 500 were tomatoes?
I thought that would help him, because he really wanted the tomatoes.
Right. It really tied up the story, connected things. Thorough screenwriting. Any other thoughts?
I noticed that when it showed a newspaper picture of Turbo and these monkeys, the monkeys were the exact monkeys from Madagascar. I think it’s because the creators of Turbo are related to the creators of Madagascar.
I think you're right. Both movie are made by Dreamworks. Great observation. I missed that. Is Madagascar good?
I got tired of the first one because I watched it too many times when I was little.
To conclude: How does Turbo compare to Buffy?
On a scale of 1 to 10, Turbo would be a 6. Not as good as Buffy.
VERDICT: Turbo = Not as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
GIF via thecreatureinthesky
Interview by Ross Scarano (@RossScarano)