Fresh off my screening of DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, I awoke the other morning to the pleasantly surprising and colorful second trailer for the studio’s prospective animated blockbuster, Turbo, set for a release this summer. The animated adventure surrounds a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds, who’s currently hamming it up as cave-boy Guy in The Croods) who dreams of being able to go fast, and after a freak circumstance, his dream comes true. Blessed with new abilities, he decides to pursue the Indy 500 and be the first snail ever to compete in the famed race. It’s a cute premise, and with Dreamworks’ inherent magic, it could be a really swell summer hit. Check out the trailer below and then see why I’m excited to be ‘slo no mo’:
Why I’m Excited:
1) Voice Cast: This is a given for all animated movies but voice casts are essential for an animated film’s success. The Croods teamed Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds together for a wildly entertaining and clever animated adventure and this ensemble was key to the film’s charm, humor, and overall quality. With Turbo, the roster of voices is top notch. Reynolds is back at it in the lead here as Turbo, the snail. The trailer also gives us a dose of Paul Giamatti as a fellow snail with a strong sense of negativity (“Aren’t you a bright ray of sunshine?”). Also, Samuel L. Jackson gets to lend his pipes to another racing snail – I’m guessing he may turn out to be the film’s antagonist, which is not so clearly defined in this trailer. Finally, toward the trailer’s end, rapper Snoop Dogg (is he also being credited in films as Snoop Lion now?) pops up. Thanks to imdb, we know that Michael Peña, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Ben Schwartz, Maya Rudolph, and Kurtwood Smith are rounding out the expansive voice cast. While some may think differently, I find it hard to disregard the impeccable voice talent working on Turbo.
2) DreamWorks Streak: In a brief historical rundown, DreamWorks Animation has always been the sworn nemesis of Pixar ever since DreamWorks blasted onto the scene with the A Bug’s Life knockoff, Antz. The rivalry has continued for the past fifteen or so years and it’s obvious that both companies have released some truly groundbreaking and memorable animated films. While Pixar may still be the pinnacle, their recent outings (Cars 2, Brave) have been sorely disappointing after the one-two-three punch of Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. As for DreamWorks, their massive breakout was Shrek back in 2001 and they are responsible for the Madagascar trilogy – a personal favorite of co-critic Zack Sharf’s – as well as the distribution of some Aardman Animations films in the early 2000s. Kung Fu Panda and its high grossing sequel are also DreamWorks productions, as is the adored How to Train Your Dragon, which has been named DreamWorks’ greatest success, being comparable to the best of Pixar’s repertoire. With this weekend’s The Croods sure to be a commercial and critical success, I see no reason why Turbo can’t continue DreamWorks climb. They’ve paid their dues and earned their stripes and Turbo’s accessibility and sense of humor looks to span generations. I think this will be a super fun animated adventure, a family film that will be fun for members of all ages.
3) Sense of Humor: Animated films are wondrous pieces of entertainment. If movies are still considered major forms of escapism, then animated movies are the pinnacle of cinematic transference, leading audiences into a world tailor made for enjoyment. They always have a magical feel, which is why I will move mountains in order to see a good animated movie (even though somehow I missed all the good ones last year and only saw Pirates! Band of Misfits and Hotel Transylvania). In addition, creative and witty writing is key in crafting animated films, usually because of the eccentric characters and locations that are manifested for the production. For instance, The Croods was super funny – much of it associated with the phenomenal timing and delivery of the voice cast – but also contained a strong sense of creativity. A lot of Pixar’s mastery lands in the realm of writing because of how they humanize and personify the inanimate objects that usually are the main characters of their films (or, in the case of The Incredibles, the writing is on par with any life action family comedy). Turbo looks to have a really sarcastic sense of humor, perfectly fitted for Reynolds’ delivery style. Turbo seems to be a very ‘smartass’ character (the “sunshine” line to Paul Giamatti’s snail is a prime example, as is the moment when he is complaining to the other snails around him that they are going too slow). The screenwriters behind Turbo don’t have many credits. Director David Soren – an animator on DreamWorks’s Shark Tale – co-wrote the film with Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer) and Robert Siegel. Siegel only has two major credits but they are both so far removed from the animated movie realm that his name listed here is super interesting. Siegel wrote The Wrestler for Darren Aronofsky and the dark Big Fan, which starred Patton Oswalt. The combination between these three writers will surely be interesting but I’m happy with the humor hinted at in this new trailer.
So does Turbo look as enjoyable for you as it does for me? What’s your opinion on Ryan Reynolds’ voice acting and leading an animated ensemble? DreamWorks or Pixar?
Article by Mike Murphy