Speed Racer

    I watched Speed Racer when I was a kid although it was more because there was nothing else on at the time than out of any affection for the show. It was good enough to kill a half hour. I really don’t remember much about it and I don’t have any nostalgic feeling associated with it.
    So the prospect of a live action movie directed by the stumbling Wachowski brothers doesn’t scandalize or worry me. There are no sacred cows here. In fact the only way the brothers could have gone wrong was by sticking too close to the series.
    Fortunately, that wasn’t ever likely to happen. What the Wachowski’s have done is to take the early sixties style of the series and amp it up about a thousand times, pumping in garish neon colors. Make no mistake, in spite of the impressive cast, you’re seeing this for the visuals. This is another one of those films like Sky Captain that was filmed entirely in front of a green screen and then the backgrounds were filled in with computers. It is absolutely seamless. If it were actually possible to do these sorts of things with race cars–spinning them out without losing speed, vaulting them up into the air, or driving them on the ceiling or up a cliff–this is what it would look like. It is jaw-dropping.
    But surprisingly, there’s a story here and it’s pretty well told. After the jumbled mess of the Matrix sequels, I wasn’t sure the Wachowskis had it in them. Of course the story is pure corn, but that fits in with the source material.
    The acting by a cast that is almost universally overqualified (Do you really need Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon to play a sixties sit-com mom?) is not a issue one way or another. These people are professionals and they play the roles straight, which is how it should be done.
    I think Speed Racer will take it’s place as an artifact, a cultural touchstone for this generation. It is the sixties filtered through Japanese anime and interpreted by 21st century geeks. If nothing else it demonstrates how we are eating and regurgitating our cultural past.
    Weird.

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1 Response to “Speed Racer”


  1. 1 kogmediadotcom May 14, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    The Wachowski bros certainly put a lot of effort into making Speed Racer… the movie overall looked and felt like a cross between anime, a kaleidoscope, that Flintstones movie, a video game and the Dukes of Hazard http://www.kogmedia.com


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