The Snail Who Thinks He Can…

When we first heard about this movie, we were skeptical.  However, our mate, St. X reminded us how “what’s essential is invisible to the eye.”  In this case, let’s just say barely visible to the eye.  We’re referring to the story about a snail that wants to go fast.

Turbo-Movie-Poster

DreamWorks Animation is jumping into the summer mix with “Turbo the Movie,” the story of Theo the snail.  Going fast doesn’t mean taking on Olympian Usain Bolt.  He’s shooting for the Indy 500 with his eye on the winner, French-Canadian Guy Gagne.  Seems like a stretch, right?

Huffington Post’s Jenna Fryer got some insight from director, co-writer and story creator David Soren who said the idea came from watching his young son’s obsession with “all things fast” combined with a snail issue he was having in his yard.

It is also worth knowing that some of Soren’s favorite films are “Rocky,” “The Karate Kid,” and “Breaking Away.”  Basically, this all leads to an underdog story featuring a very cute, animated snail voiced by Ryan Reynolds.

Why We’re Curious…
katzenberg-damaschke-NYpremiere
Beyond the director and his backstory, we are also drawn to DreamWorks Animation, the studio taking the risk to bring this story to market.  From a New York Times article, we gained some insight about the studio’s chief creative officer Bill Damaschke.

Who?  His visibility is easily a 180 of Disney/Pixar’s John Lassiter.

Damaschke was described as being the one who runs the factory floor, working with directors, writers and artists to deliver hits like “Kung Fu Panda,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and the “Madagascar” movies.

Interesting.  We’ve always thought about DreamWorks Animation as Jeffrey Katzenberg’s baby since he’s usually the one out in public doing the interviews.  Finding out the reigns have been turned over (for quite some time apparently) to Damaschke an attention getter for us.

What’s Being Said:

The Hollywood Reporter deemed it “narratively challenged” and zeroed in on a theme that could turn off mom: “If you’re too small or weak or otherwise incapable of greatness, you have a shot to win if you’re juiced.”

Variety called it an “endearing underdog story” that finds the animation studio “taking a welcome risk and betting on a far-fetched story idea.”

Risk-Taking DWA?

“Shrek” was fresh with its irreverent humor, pop culture and inside jokes.  So was Madagascar which has us thinking about King Julian’s “Move It” dance and “All hail the NY Giants.”

The story of Kung Fu Panda’s Po got our attention because it  appealed to the hero in all of us. In fact, when the movie opened in 2008, this is what Katzenberg had to say:

“I do think that Po the panda is going to give Shrek a run for his money, because I think that Po in a very different way is without question the most lovable character we’ve ever created. Shrek’s an anti-hero hero. Po is an unlikely hero. He is more in tune with what we are ourselves. He actually has to find the hero within, and I think we all have a hero within us.”

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Our take is that if DWA can tell an engaging story really well AND the sun, moon & stars all line up, this could be a winner.

More Notables:

We were thrilled to find out that Brenda Chapman has returned to DWA.  Pixar’s “Brave” was her baby (won an Oscar in February), but she got pushed out.

“I left [DreamWorks] in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over,” said Ms. Chapman (co-director of “The Prince of Egypt”).  “I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

Worth noting is she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on “The Prince of Egypt.”  Small world, right?

 

Editor’s Note:  More will be written about marketing tie-ins and other story angles.  Stay tuned!

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Comments

  1. Sun and stars have probably better things to do than lining up for this movie’s release 😉 Although I think it will get its fair share of popularity nonetheless. For sure it will be a magnet for families with kids.

  2. TheGang says:

    This just in…  The Journal had a story talking about the new Disney movie “Planes.” We thought it was a Pixar production like the Cars franchise.  Apparently it is from Disneytoons Studios — a producer of direct to DVD videos like “Tinker Bell.”  Our ponderable — how good will the storytelling be?
    (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324783204578620080640023860.html)

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