Turbo – Lowly garden snail, Turbo, dreams of speed and obsesses over the Indy 500. A freak accident leaves him superpowered and capable of reaching speeds of 230 mph, and when he crashes into the lives of Dos Bros Tacos brothers and teams up with enthusiastic Tito who has the same dream… 

Turbo (2013) – Director: David Soren

Is Turbo appropriate for kids?

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34648034

Rating: U

Running Length: 96 mins

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña

Genre: Animated, Comedy, Sport


The story of a slow animal having a need for speed isn’t exactly a new concept and ‘Turbo’ takes this idea and runs (slithers?) with it. Before he renames himself Turbo, Theo has a humble life of helping to harvest tomatoes in the front yard of a house. It is a simple life but one fraught with dangers (crows, lawn mowers, sadistic children). Theo’s preoccupation with racing makes him a frustration for his loving but pragmatic brother, Chet. When Theo is given superpowers and the brothers find themselves taken from their normal lives to the Taco sellers, Tito and Angelo (who have an almost identical dynamic as Theo and Chet), Theo’s dreams have the chance of coming to fruition.

‘Turbo’ may not be groundbreaking but its enthusiasm and characterisation make up for its predictability. Chet and Angelo, the practically minded of the brothers, may not fully support their siblings’ fantasy but it is out of love and protection that they disagree with them which adds a nice level of believability to an otherwise fantastical story. Tito’s infectious enthusiasm is a joy to watch and it’s impossible not to root for him. Tito’s other racing snails are full of sass and confidence although it’s a shame that they don’t get more screen-time as their presence initially seems promising but as the film progresses, they become little more than token characters.

Although ‘Turbo’ has a strong air of familiarity about it, what it does well is ramp up the entertainment value so that its flaws are barely noticeable. Turbo himself is an easy character to get behind but the negativity from his brother can’t be disliked as it is clear where these feelings come from. The actual race which takes up the entirety of the third act could become boring but with so many elements being brought in at different stages it keeps attention levels high. In essence, ‘Turbo’ does exactly what it needs to do in order to be fun and entertaining for both young and old.


When in their front garden, the snails see that the young boy who lives in the house is out in the front garden on his trike. They call him the ‘shell crusher’ and cementing the reputation, the boy smiles as he squashes a bug underneath the wheel of his trike. This boy also attempts to kill Theo, chasing him around the garden.

There are a few times when we see snails killed or snatched away by crows to their doom. The other snails are sad for a few seconds and then continue with their lives. In one tense scene, a tomato lands on top of a snail, engulfing it and rolling onto the grass. Then, a man begins to mow the lawn; Theo desperately tries to save the snail (who is still inside the tomato and not seen) but despite his efforts, he can’t get there in time and the tomato is run down by the mower, he turns away and pulp from the tomato splashes on his face (this is somewhat symbolic of the now-dead snail’s blood although most kids won’t put these things together).

When a major character is taken by a crow, another follows them to try to save him. The crow is accosted by other crows who want to steal the snail in its talons they then fight over it until it falls from a height onto the front of a truck. The crows then surround the snail, their sharp talons scratching on the truck and there are close-ups of their beaks as they peck at the snail who is terrified of being killed. The tension of these scene is high and lasts for around 5 minutes but the situation changes and the snail dose comes out of the danger unscathed. One of these crows flies away and is immediately hit by a bus, a plume of feathers flies into the air and it is quite clear that it has been killed.

Theo and Chet are taken by a man who appears to have sinister intentions for them. He takes them to a room full of people who are mostly seen in shadow. These characters say things like: ‘We’re going to eat them up!’ ‘It’s going to be a slaughter’ and ‘dead meat’ which terrifies the snails, however the tone of this scene soon changes so that the snails are no longer in peril.

Some characters use a nail gun in order to puncture the tyres of a car and as this is portrayed as a fun thing to do, it could be imitable for younger kids.

A brief, 5 second animation of Turbo shows him fleeing a car and, as it gets closer to him, his eyes pop out in terror before the wheel squashes him, sending him going round and round it.

A character becomes aggressively determined not to allow Turbo to win a race and attempts to kill him by crushing him against a wall and then by stamping on him but he does not succeed.


‘Turbo’ is a fun-filled, high-octane animation that is bound to have kids on the edges of their seats; while adults may have seen the story many times before it is entertaining enough to be enjoyed by even the oldest members of the family. As the highlighted scenes are mild, we feel this movie should be suitable for all ages.

  • Violence: 1/5 (incidental characters killed by various means including a lawn mower and crows)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (a few scenes when characters become sad and the musical accompaniment adds to it but these moments are mostly short-lived)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 0/5 (references to snails being ‘smooshed’, a character says ‘that snail is history’)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of following your dreams, believing in yourself, taking advantage of opportunities, carrying on despite negativity, listening to those you care about, the desire to escape a mundane life and appreciating what you have,

Words by Laura Record

Turbo [DVD]

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