Hey hey hey, Tom Turbo! The word’s greatest detective has become 20 years now. No, not Batman! To celebrate this, a feature film was produced last year, to tell the tale of his origins. But before I go to the review-part I guess I should tell you guys first who or what Tom Turbo actually is.
Tom Turbo is a creation by Austrian author Thomas Brezina, who also wrote “The Knickerbocker-Gang“. It’s a children’s book turned TV-quiz show starring Thomas Brezina as the boss of Tom Turbo. Tom Turbo is a talking bicycle, working as a detective. He has got 111 tricks/ gadgets he can use to fight crime. They include flattening himself, flying, open doors and an electric toilet brush. His favourite drink is lube oil. The whole concept is kinda like “Knight Rider“…for kids. The TV-show is about his adventures with Thomas Brezina in their own P.I.-office, while the books and audio-dramas are about his adventures with his two creators, the kids Karo and Klaro. His cases are often about mysteries and unusual but fake paranormal happenings, which turn out to be creations by various super-villains. The TV-show is also a quiz show, were the viewers at home solve puzzles and win prizes.
The movie isn’t actually a prequel, but more of a cinematic reboot. It has the same actors (Thomas Brezina and Peter Faerber as the Voice of Tom Turbo) as in the show, and it tells the story of the origin of Tom Turbo, but sets the movie in 2013 instead of 1993. (Kinda like that awful A-Team-movie)
Wannabe-supergangster Fritz Fantom (Simon Schober) and his henchman Rudi Ratte (Michael Pink) are about to finish their super-robot, when they realise that the most important item, the Tom Tempo, which would make the robot sentient and even more efficient, is lost. It has got into the hands of the two siblings Karo and Klaro (actually it’s Konstantin, but he doesn’t like that much), whose widowed father Klaus Klicker (Manuel Witting) owns a bicicle-repair-shop.
When the kids meet author Thomas Brezina, who has got a writing blockade, they decide to help him and create a bicycle, which should work as a detective. They also build a prototype. The Tom Tempo brings it to life one night, and Tom Turbo, the greatest bicycle in the world, is born.
He also gets his first case, when Emma, Klaus’ love interest, gets kidnapped by the villains.
After seeing the trailer, I was unsure about the movie, but now I know the trailer doesn’t do the movie justice. Of course it’s silly, haven’t you read the origin-part above?! Also, adults (like you people who read my blog) who are not familiar with the material may not be the target audience for this movie. For me it was really entertaining, and I had a very good time due to the funny humor.
The child actors were very natural and the quarrelsome sibling rivalry felt natural too. Most of the other actors were also quite good. I especially enjoyed Michael Pink’s performance as Rudi Ratte. Every scene with him is hilarious, so for me he is quite a highlight in the movie. And although I liked Schober’s performance as Fritz Fantom, I was not very fond of the portrayal of the villain as a wannabe mastermind played for comic relief. For you see, in the TV-show, he is the most dangerous criminal in the world.
Another aspect which was not that great, was Tom being never really in danger, and also a bit overpowered. That makes it – as a friend and her 6-year-old students verified – a little boring in plot. This may be due to the script by Brezina himself, which was apparently written in the misconception, that children can’t handle any violence or danger. That’s also why the villains are very often quite stupid. A common problem in many children-movies. The problem with this assumption in this particular situation is, that in the TV show, Tom Turbo gets endangered and destroyed a lot. So, if your protagonist can get in danger in your own show, why can’t he in your movie? There’s no suspense in it, when there is never a foe who can be able to defeat you. But, hey, at least he fights his most dangerous adversary in this film:
Sadly, there is also some shaky cam (Why!? WHY!!!????), mostly at the beginning, which makes the viewing a little difficult. But for the rest of the movie, the pictures are really nice. I also very much liked the editing, especially when split screen was involved. For in those scenes, the characters break the 4th wall – no wait, not the 4th, but…one of the other three – and interact with people on a totally different location. It’s a pretty nice trick. And it feels like watching” 24“, where Jack Bauer could enter any subplot via split screen.
“Tom Turbo – The Movie” is a silly, but for the most parts quite enjoyable film. There are many things that could have been made better, like the addition of a little more danger and suspense, and also some script-revisions would have been advisable. But the trailer made it look much worse. You can get a good laugh out of it, and if it may be too ridiculous for you, remember, the target audience is children under 10.