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Tip of the Week

'Turbo' Is Terrific

Julie Samrick
Kid Focused

Theo the garden snail may handle overripe tomatoes during the day, but after hours, he dreams of navigating the curves of NASCAR tracks and the "terrifying, blazing speed" that makes him happiest.   Though he's subject to ridicule for these grand dreams, an accident soon gives him turbo powers. But will his new life really make him happy?

In a phrase, Turbo is terrific.  Though the storyline is a familiar one - an underdog is pitted against someone or something powerful (think Flik, the tiny ant who goes up against much more muscular insects in A Bug's Life, or the cadre of toys against the neighbor boy in Toy Story). 

The storyline hums along, the characters are lovable, and the music will get the whole family dancing.   Turbo isn't a movie just for boys or for girls - it's for everyone.

Turbo is rated PG for loud sounds that could frighten children under 5 as well as some crows that swoop down and scoop up unsuspecting snails to carry them off for dinner. 

There are plenty of great messages in Turbo. The importance of teamwork is prevalent throughout. And with two sets of brothers featured, one set human and the other set snail (Ryan Reynolds as Turbo and Paul Giamatti as his cautious brother, Chet), we see how close that bond can be.  Parents may also discuss the concept of who would really stick by you during the good times and also the bad. Or making the most of each day and why we shouldn't settle for "good enough."  

Of course, with a snail who wants to be a race car driver, the concept of irony - simply explained as when the opposite of what's expected to happen occurs - could be an early introduction to tools authors and moviemakers use to make a storyline exciting to read or watch. Once young people are aware of irony, they will see books and movies in a whole new way.

Turbo is recommended for the whole family to enjoy.

Kid Focused Grades for Turbo:

Compelling story line - A- (It's a little confusing for kids how Theo gets his new powers)

Strong message - A 

Leading character is a role model - A

Sexual or adult content - A- (Two snails flirt mildly.  In one scene, it's assumed that celebratory bottles are alcoholic beverages)

Language and violence - A- (The crows take snails away to eat. NASCAR scenes are loud. Yet, there is no potty humor, sarcasm or language that is so prevalent in many kids' films today.)  

Suited for the whole family - A

Overall Kid Focused Grade for Turbo: A    
Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes     

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Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of four young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues.  Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.  If you enjoyed this post, "Like" us on Facebook for updates on more posts like it.  Permission granted for use on

Tags: 2013 Movies, Family, Movie Review, NASCAR, Parenting, Paul Giamatti, Racing, Relatives, Role model, Ryan Reynolds, Snail, Stay-at-Home Mom, Turbo, Values
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