My 7-year old son is thrilled with the trailers of Turbo (2013), set for release in July. It’s a racing movie about an underdog snail, nicknamed Turbo, who has unlikely dreams of being fast. Though the trailers only reveal some snippets, one of the dramatic scenes shows the snail getting sucked into the air intake of a souped-up street car that has been modified with nitrous oxide boosters for illegal drag races.
While within the car’s engine, a montage shows clichéd icons for radioactivity to imply that some sort of atomic energy exposure mutates Turbo’s DNA to become part snail and part racecar. This kind of atomic-energy-induced mutation is reminiscent of Dr. Bruce Banner’s transition to a superhero (the Incredible Hulk, 2008) and Dr. Otto Octavius’ nuclear fusion reactor accident transforming him into a villain with metallic arms fused to his back (Spiderman 2, 2004). It also relates to Back to the Future (1985) where a nuclear fuel—plutonium—transforms a car into a time machine.
Later in the trailer, when Turbo the snail shows off all sorts of unexpected, atomically-charged abilities, one of his comrades (voiced by Snoop Dogg) asks suspiciously “Are you radioactive, homey?”
It’s as if all of these movies are telling us that nuclear energy can give us superhuman benefits.
I can’t wait to see the movie in 3D.