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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 6 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Turbo
  • a review of Turbo completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 September 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes
Children aged 6 and over OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Turbo
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length: 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Turbo tells the inspirational story of Theo (voice of Ryan Reynolds), a garden snail living in California who dreams of becoming the greatest racer in the world. His obsession with speed and desire to race in the Indianapolis 500 – a race run only by cars with human drivers – has led to him becoming an outcast within his community, comprised of snails heavily favouring safety and caution over the excitement that Theo craves. After being bullied and demoralised once too often, Theo finds himself wandering on to a nearby freeway, lamenting his lack of speed and admiring the cars that fly past him.

Theo is involved in an unexpected collision and is sucked into the supercharger of a drag racing car, where his DNA becomes fused with nitrous oxide. After the incident, Theo becomes increasingly aware of the fact that he has suddenly developed an incredible power of speed and driving accuracy, as well as other abilities of typical cars (such as having his eyes light up like headlights, as well as the ability to turn his voice into a music stereo at will).

After a unique turn of events, Theo and his unadventurous brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) meet an inspired human named Tito (Michael Pena). Tito has already befriended several snails whom he races as a hobby but he is astounded by Theo’s speed and agility. Eventually, the team work together and Theo is admitted entry into the Indy500 race as a competitor. Naming himself ‘Turbo’, Theo relies on his determination, unflinching strength of will and support of his friends to make it through the physically and mentally challenging race.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Bullying; risk versus safety; personal growth

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited violence in the film, including:

  • At some of the team meetings, crows occasionally swoop down and grab one of the snails. Usually, Chet makes remarks such as “Well that’s a shame” or “There goes Jerry”, implying that the snails are being taken and eaten.
  • An old lady repeatedly hits, and steps on the face of, the previous Indy 500 Champion, after he is revealed to be a malicious and evil person who tries to hurt Theo in order to run the race.
  • A crow swallows Theo and is thrown around violently after Theo engages his turbo powers. The crow is then squashed by a car.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The snails are endangered by cars and by humans mowing the lawn where they live

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of the scenes described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film, but associated merchandise being marketed to children

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Theo’s brother Chet makes suggestive references towards what viewers initially presume is another snail, but is actually a tomato (food for the snails to harvest). Chet says: “Look at her, nice curves. You are one giant juicy temptress. Any day now.”
  • Several of the snails flirt with one another, with one male snail wrapping his arm around a female snail while the female refers to him endearingly as “boo”.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There was some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A woman and Tito drink what appears to be beer.
  • Various beer bottles roll along the ground outside the Taco store that Tito owns.

Coarse language

There is limited coarse language in the film, including:

  • name-calling, such as “freak of nature”, “lunatic”, “insane”

In a nutshell

Turbo is a heart-warming animated film about a snail who achieves his dream. Although initially an outcast and recluse, Theo finds a group of friends he trusts who help him to achieve what everyone initially presumes to be impossible – for a snail to win the Indy 500 car race. The relationship between Theo and Chet is an important part of the plot and the course of the film sees the two brothers come together to help Theo become the ‘Turbo’ snail he has always dreamed of being. In return, Theo shows Chet a more adventurous and exciting way to live. The overwhelming message is that, as the Indy500 Champion states, “No dream is too big, and no dreamer is too small”.

The film is likely to be enjoyed by the whole family, although children under six may need help with some of the scenes where snails are in danger.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss:

  • The importance of not giving up, even in the face of obstacles.
  • The concept of bullying and how the other snails treat Theo because he is different.
  • Learning to rely on the support and friendship of others, and how much of a difference it can make when you don’t try to do things entirely on your own