While this is a timely review of an animated feature that bowed to audiences on July 17, 2013; Turbo’s messages of dreaming big and reviving independent America is a great social commentary that reaches children and adults.
Turbo is about snails, one snail in particular, named Turbo. He has a dream of being fast and discovering what lays beyond “the plant” aka the tomato patch next to his home. After a freak accident infuses him with superfast abilities, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) and his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) are discovered by Tito, a human who races snails. Inspired by his hero, race car driver Guy Gagne, Turbo reveals his abilities and wish to enter the Indy 500. Can a snail win a car race? Without any spoilers, watch the movie to find out.
What’s great for children especially in this film is the line “no dream to big and no dreamer to small.” Generic it may be but it’s a universal truth that should be acknowledged by everyone no matter what age. Circumstances in today’s world may make this message difficult to believe; a great inspiring message of encouragement is always a good thing.
The other message in Turbo is the revitalization of small America; shopping areas where corporate America does not exist. The humans in the film are all owners of customer-less establishments in a strip mall that only sees tour buses bolt through its parking lot. The buses never stop and the owners of the auto garage, salon, taco stand, and hobby shop are left to just exist in their shops. The put up the entry fee for Turbo to enter the Indy 500, in hopes of inspiring their own dreams of people in their establishments.
Perhaps this is a commentary on the state of independent America where the local guy runs the business. It’s not hard to see the amount of chains popping up left and right while the small business owner usually struggles to stay afloat. It is entirely plausible to say that the message to help revitalize the small business sector exists in this film. Not only do children learn about local businesses, adults are reminded of what exists beyond the neon super store lights.
Films can serve to educate as well as entertain; Turbo is certainly one of them. It’s a basic children’s film that engages the idea to dream. Snails may not seem like a likely source of inspiration but, in Turbo’s case, it works.