Friday, July 17, 2009

Watch In Fast Forward

Speed Racer (2008)
Directed By The Wachowski Brothers
Visually this film is a wonderland of bright colors, flashing lights, jumping cars, manga swipes, Dr. Suess and Hot Wheels race tracks that, and chimps. Had I been 10 when this came out, it would easily be one of my favorite movies. As it is though, I'm a few years older, maybe too old for this movie. The Wachowski brothers instead of trying to make Speed Racer real, decided to go the opposite direction and make real life into the 1960's Speed Racer cartoon. The results are mixed, on the one hand, they bring to life the energy of the Mach 5 (Speed's car) through it's psychedelic video game like race tracks, on the other hand it makes the scenes when Speed isn't racing almost unbearable.There's good cinematography throughout, even as characters discuss simple things, the images never seem to stop moving, everything is racing along. But actually having to endure real people speak exactly like 60's cartoon characters, is just... annoying. There's things like a warning for people who don't like cooties to turn away before an on screen kiss. Now that's a cute idea, funny if your young enough or in the right mood, but that kind of thing goes on throughout the movie, without the winking self-consciousness you get even in "The Adams Family", "The Flinstones" and "Shrek" movies, where some jokes are designed for children others targeted at adults. Speed Racer is entirely aimed at the appeasing the kiddies. While that's not a bad thing in and of itself, it just makes certain portions of this really, really drag. There's some nice morals in the story about believing in yourself and in your vision, no matter what evil corporations may tell you, but it's not enough to make you invested in anything other than the actual racing.In The plot involves racing corruption in a world which worships the sport, and the young man named Speed Racer, who has to foil the race rigging corporations and restore dignity to the sport, dealing in tangent with the mysterious Racer X, who appears to help anyone in time of trouble, anywhere, at any time. I'm gonna give this a high score though, as far as children's films go, there's enough visual excitement here to kill an elephant if it was old and had a bad heart, so kids should jump all over it. I know I would have at that age and even now, there are a few scenes I like to skip forward to.

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