Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Turbo Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Experience big dreams and even bigger laughs when Turbo arrives on Digital HD on October 22 and on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on November 12. Taking the fun-filled spirited adventure of the film, the Blu-ray and DVD are packaged with a Turbo pullback toy racer, while supplies last, making it a great gift for the holidays!  Directed by David Soren and from the team behind other Dreamworks family favorite franchises like Madagascar and Kung Fu PandaTurbo has an incredible voice cast of today’s biggest stars: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolf, Michelle Rodriguez and Samuel L. Jackson.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Theo (Ryan Reynolds) is a small snail with big dreams. He spends much of his little snail-life worshiping racer Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). Theo wants to be fast in a body destined for leisure and his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) is less than supportive. After Theo’s TV is broken, he wanders around wallowing in self pity, ending up in Los Angeles traffic. Theo lands on top of a speeding vehicle and is sucked inside the engine where the nitrous oxide changes him. Theo is not only faster than the other snails, but he can keep up with actual race cars, including Guy Gagne.

Theo later encounters a taco joint that is on the verge of bankruptcy – along with every other business in the strip mall. The taco stand is owned by two brothers Tito (Michael Pena) and Angelo (Luis Guzman). Tito wants to use Theo for publicity, and needs money from all the business owners to enter him into the Indianapolis 500. Angelo is against the idea but in the end everyone is on-board as Theo races the humans, including his idol.

Turbo is an easy story for kids to follow since it boils down to a snail that wants to go fast, then is lucky enough to get doused in nitrous, and then gets to fulfill his dream to participate in the big race. It has enough action to keep children interested and occupied throughout. It also has likable characters and does produce genuinely touching moments that help to keep the parents invested in the story.  As a parent you have to just get on board with the fact that snails talk and some want to race. 

Depending on the age of the child they may or may not pay much attention to the relationship between Theo and his brother Chet – the overbearing big brother who keeps trying to keep Theo grounded. The relationship between Tito and Angelo who co-own a taco stand is interesting as well. Tito has the brains and the money but Angelo clearly has the heart.  I understand that I am not the target demographic for DreamWorks’ CGI films. However, as a parent I sit through a lot of terrible family films that thrill my five year old. In the case of Turbo, it turned out to be significantly better than many of the kid-flicks I've been subjected to. As expected, it manufactures the drama (because kid films just aren't allowed to be all happy, I guess) but it does result in a touching and sweet film about a group of lovable snails.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Whether or not the story is for you, viewers will undoubtedly be impressed by Dreamworks and Fox’s Blu- ray presentation. Turbo is amazing bright and detailed. Some films end up so colorful that they lack authenticity but Turbo manages his to hit all ends of the color spectrum with accuracy and without being over the top. It’s clear that much time was taken deciding on the varied hues for each color. Black levels are also exceptional and I would not be surprised to see this film running at your local electronics store as retailers show off their best HDTVs.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Turbo’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that is every bit as impressive as the Blu- ray video presentation. Mechanical sounds like race cars, jets or even lawnmowers are powerful enough to make the listener feel as small as a snail. The music is energetic and dialogue is always intelligible and accurate.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars) 

Turbo contains the following special features, but surprisingly there's no audio commentary:
  • Champion's Corner  - A five minute sportscast interview with Turbo.
  • Smoove Move’s Music Maker – Video s for Speedin’, The Snail is Fast, Back to Indiana, Jump Around, Let the Bass Go and Eye of the Tiger.
  • Team Turbo: Tricked Out – This feature looks at the characters and their shells.
  • Meet Tito: Deleted Scene – Director David Soren discusses the deleted scene, seen in raw illustration.
  • The Race: Storyboard Sequence – Director David Soren discusses the storyboard for a crucial scene with final cut shown in picture in a picture format.
  • Be An Artist – The Head of Character Animation teaches you how to draw Turbo – Garden Shell, Turbo Racing Shell, Burn, Smoove Move, Skidmark, Whiplash, White Shadow and Chet in addition to a custom racer.
  • Shell Creator – An interactive feature that allows you to create and customize a racing shell, accessories and background which can be saved to a shell gallery.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sneak Peeks – Previews for other titles including the Croods, Shrek the Musical Walking with Dinosaurs and others.
  • World of DreamWorks Animation – Videos from Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and The Croods.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Turbo is a fun family film that parents and children will enjoy. Particularly for elementary school-aged children like my son, the message comes across clearly that a person (or snail) can do anything they set their mind to. The voice actors all fully and believably inhabit their tiny characters and both the audio and video presentations are stellar. With an interesting set of special features, this is a solid Blu- ray – one I would highly recommend to put under the tree of children of all ages this Christmas.

Order your copy today!

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