2013 looks to be a particularly exciting year for feature animation, with new efforts from almost all the major animation houses, some hotly anticipated sequels (hello, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”), features from some of our favorite filmmakers (Chris Sanders, Hayao Miyazaki) and even a brand new Disney princess movie (“Frozen,” which from everything we’ve heard is going to be ah-mah-zing). One of the bigger question marks for the 2013 slate, though, has been “Turbo,” DreamWorks Animation’s story of a speed-racing snail. Well, we’ve now gotten a brief glimpse of the movie thanks to a teaser and new poster (both courtesy of Collider) and we’ve got to say, it could be pretty fun.
The teaser starts off with the Chromatics’ “Tick of the Clock,” the same music that memorably opened “Drive” (because a lot of ten-year-olds loved that movie), with some generic animation of F1 racecars zipping around a track accompanied by some inspirational voiceover. (We imagine that they’re F1 racecars instead of Nascar-style stock cars because it puts some distance between itself and Pixar’s lucrative “Cars” franchise.) We are then introduced to Theo, aka Turbo (played by Ryan Reynolds), a snail who has a “5” painted on its shell. He moves incredibly slowly. Even though the character design is sort of bland, the second half of the teaser is actually pretty charming and scoring the second half of the teaser to Cake’s “Going the Distance” was a nice touch.
The film is co-written and directed by David Soren, who has worked as a story artist at DreamWorks Animation since “The Road to El Dorado” (back when the studio was still committed to one-upping Disney on the hand-drawn animation front), eventually writing and directing the “Merry Madagascar” Christmas special a few years ago. Also interesting to note is that Robert Siegel, the former Onion editor who went on to write “The Wrestler” for Darren Aronofsky, is listed as a co-writer; yet another leftfield writing pick from DreamWorks Animation (Noah Baumbach co-wrote “Madagascar 3” and Charlie Kaufman contributed to “Kung Fu Panda 2”).
“Turbo,” whose teaser poster is heavy on the snail-embossed logo and not much else, features an unstoppable voice cast that includes, in addition to Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Hader and Richard Jenkins. Little else is known about the movie but DreamWorks Animation thinks it’s going to be huge (an animated series is already in the works, presumably to air on Cartoon Network, where their “How to Train Your Dragon” show broadcasts).
“Turbo” zooms into theaters on July 19, 2013.