The Peeps on Turbo

There it is again, on the poster for Turbo:  the facial expression that Dreamworks animators love.

And here they are again: Film reviewers I tend to trust, saving me money by warning me off of a Dreamworks animated movie. Matt Zoller Seitz says,

[The] catchphrase “No dream too big, no dreamer too small” sounds wonderful on paper, and you’d have no reason to expect a family-friendly blockbuster to subvert it if you hadn’t already seen Pixar’s unexpectedly clever and altogether superior “Monsters University” do exactly that. There’s nothing new here, just old stuff in a new-ish package. This movie’s enjoyable, but never as daring or bizarre as it could have been. It hits all the beats you expect it to hit, exactly when you expect it to hit them, while pretending to mock films that are all about the beats.

Jackson Cuidon, one of my new favorites (there are ludicrous rumors out there that he’s 19 years old), says,

Turbo is a staggeringly average showing for the studio, as shallow and transparently message-laden as anything Dreamworks Studios has produced in years. … The problem with Turbo is that Turbo never earns anything he achieves. … Turbo claims to be an underdog, but never is, and so his victories don’t mean anything besides reinforcing the idea that the strongest/smartest/fastest will always win. And, to be fair, that’s the way life normally pans out: that the most of some category will always succeed. But that’s exactly why we need movies to tell us otherwise…

And Steven Greydanus says:

At some point, alas, it becomes apparent that Turbo’s more daring elements are all surface, and the story is locked into a well-worn path to an all-too-obvious destination. Writing about Monsters University, I noted that, like many other Pixar films, it pours cold water on the familiar family-film platitude that you can achieve anything you put your mind to if you just want it enough. Turbo embraces the platitude…

I may add more reviews to this later, so check back…

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.