Speed Racer

2008-07-28 10:55
What it's about:

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel and in the high-speed world of international racing his only real competition is the memory of his legendary brother Rex Racer (Scott Porter). But when Speed turns down a lucrative offer from Royalton Industries, he enrages the company's maniacal owner (Roger Allam) who vows to destroy him and his family. The only way Speed can save his family's business and the sport of racing is to beat Royalton at his own game. Speed teams up with the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) to win The Crucible, the race that took his brother's life.

What we thought of it:

Speed Racer is the Wachowskis' first family film and has been made to appeal to a larger audience than their previous R-rated projects such as The Matrix trilogy (1999 - 2003) and V for Vendetta (2005). Although the project has been in developmental hell since 1992, the Oscar-winning brothers have adapted the 1960s Japanese anime series into live-action, shooting all scenes entirely in front of green screens and filling everything else in during post production.

And boy did the fill everything in! Eccentric, digital colours and inimitable backdrops together with the real-life footage are layered on screen in a way that puts both the background and foreground in focus (unlike the current green screen effect), giving the picture a real-life anime look. Much like their bullet-time work on The Matrix trilogy, the forward-thinking Wachowskis have revolutionized the way filmmakers will look at working with green screens in future.

Unfortunately with all the emphasis placed on the look and feel of the picture and the intense racing and action sequences, the story's development suffers. At times the plot is predictable playing into various clichés and attempts to pull in one too many sub-plots. Although there's not much room for the stellar cast to stretch the acting muscles, they all still come across pretty animated.

As with all their films, the Wachowskis layer the story with moral themes; in this case it's family honour with quite a heavy-handed anti-capitalist philosophy. But with all the CGI, intense racing and explosion of colour and music, you can't help but wonder whether 10-year-olds will fully grasp these moral concepts beyond the basic good vs. evil.

Nonetheless, Speed Racer will do well with families who love action-fantasy films such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones 4 currently at cinemas.

Be advised though that with a 2-hour-and-15-minute running time there are quite a few seat-gripping climaxes that tell your brain to ignore your bladder and the super-sized coke you've just guzzled down.

- Megan Kakora

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With 100% of filming taking place in front of a green screen, Speed Racer is yet another extremely stylized Wachowski brothers' production that may not appeal to everyone.

Lydia Robertson 2008/06/24 3:26 PM
Speed Racer This movie was even better than the passion of the christ. It is more than thoughly enjoyable, as the extremly high graphics and sound is crisp and clear. I appel to everyone who is lopoking for adventure and exitment to watch this movie. (And for all the beachelors out there, THE LADIES ARE HOT!!!!!!)
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