Disclosure: No compensation was received. All images used with permission by DreamWorks Pictures. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
DreamWorks latest, Turbo, the tale of a snail that could, raced onto screens last Weds, July 17th. Director David Soren, also wrote and conceptualized the film with a little help with his 6 and 1/2 yr old race car obsessed son, and a snail infestation in his yard. Soren said, “So, it was really kind of combining these two very opposite and contrasting ideas of super slow creatures in the yard and racecars littered around my living room that got me thinking about this character of a snail who was obsessed with speed.”
…and Turbo, starring Ryan Reynold and Paul Giamatti, was born. The film is about Turbo, (voiced by Gosling), dreaming about racing and overcoming every obstacle, even his well meaning brother, Chet (voiced by Giamatti), who tell him his dream is impossible. “[T]he story is ultimately an underdog tale and focuses on dreamers and realists, ” said Soren. “That’s why I have parallel stories between our snail brothers, Turbo and Chet, and our human brothers, Tito and Angelo, voiced by Michael Pena and Luis Guzman,” he continues, “there’s these two dreamers and these two realists who just aren’t buying what their brothers are selling.”
There are many things that make Turbo a unique and fun family film, for me it was the diversity in the characters, from the Latino brothers to the culturally diverse strip mall store owners, and of course, the film’s sneaky homages to the underdog community within L.A., The San Fernando Valley.
“I think it’s a rarity in animated movies, especially among human characters, to have diversity,” Soren said when asked if the diverse characters were something he initially considered when he created the film. “Obviously we have a very diverse cast all around. It’s just something I’ve always kind of admired in the world around me. I come from Toronto, which is a big melting pot, and then moved to LA about 16 years ago. And the story is set in LA and I wanted it to reflect the people in the city that I live in.”
I had to ask him if the L.A. references were intended (being the LA-centric gal that I am…) and here is what David had to say:
We wanted to capture the tone and a feel of LA that our creative team felt strongly about. DreamWorks is based is the San Fernando Valley. I live in the San Fernando Valley and the snails in my yard were in the Valley. So it didn’t seem like it was all that necessary to venture much further.
There’s such an iconic look to the San Fernando Valley, and there’s really a great history of racing movies and car culture here. So it seemed like the perfect location to set a racing movie and also an underdog story, since the Valley is sort of never quite considered the most desirable location to live. But, for many people who live here, it is in fact the day-to-day place where we do spend our time. And it’s often not represented in movies, certainly never in an animated movie.
You can now catch Turbo in theaters everywhere.