Racetime

2019-04-12 06:33
 
A scene in the movie 'Racetime.'

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

A spectacular sled race through the village. Frankie-Four-Eyes and his team take on the newcomers: the mysterious and conceited Zac and his athletic cousin, Charly.

The fantastic sled designed by Frankie disintegrates right before crossing the finish line. It is a bitter loss for Frankie, who refuses to accept that he might have made some design errors. Together with his friends, he manages to prove that Zac cheated during the race. 

Frankie demands a rematch, which Zac accepts—on condition that Frankie build an entirely new race track. Frankie and his friends build a spectacular new race track. Zac realises he is up against a worthy opponent, so he raises the stakes even more by cornering Frankie into betting the barn.

As the two teams prepare for race day, Zac has no scruples about cheating even more to secure his desired outcome. But, Frankie and his team have a few surprises of their own in store for him!

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

Ever watched a film at the cinema that could have gone straight to DVD instead of wasting money at the cinema? Racetime is one of those movies, and it's one of those unclever children’s movies that feels like its even degrading to a kids’ intelligence.

Hailing from Canada, the story was originally in French, and with the English dub, something got lost in translation, especially considering how well it did in Canada and that it’s a sequel to Snowtime (which you probably have never seen). The only redeeming thing about the international version of Racetime is that its animation is quite cute - but not enough to distract from the banality of it all.

In a small village somewhere a group of kids race each other with all kinds of sled designs, and the supreme winner is the clever Frankie-Four-Eyes as the designer and his skilled driver Sophie. A newcomer to town, however, threatens his title, and it sparks an all-out war between the two geniuses.

The only audience who will not be insanely bored by this witless saga is anyone below the age of semi-logical reasoning. While the story arc and characters could have worked, the script was its main undoing - unimaginative dialogue, placid humour and conflict that somehow feels fake despite it just being voice actors (awful ones may I add). One critic just walked out after 10 minutes because it was so grating.

Another issue is that it feels like a dozen different stories are happening at the same time, and I lost track a little bit in terms of who fits in where. I also didn’t understand many of the setups which were made in the previous movie, which I didn’t even know existed until after watching it. It felt more like you’re watching a TV series on CBeebies, but someone decided to smoosh the whole season into one confusing movie.

If you want to check out the animation though, which was something a little different to the usual Disney/Pixar fanfare and the only reason this movie doesn’t have one star, rather try to find the original French version and watch with subtitles. This is one of those cases where the English translation went horribly wrong compounded by the worst voice acting. It might also be that the dub that just terribly done as well - the only recognisable actor on the list is Noel Fisher from Shameless fame, who plays the evil Zac out to harm a bunch of kids he barely knows.

Movies in South Africa are too expensive to waste on garbage like this, and Racetime is up there with one of the worst movies of the year. It’s boring, humourless and will make any parent unfortunate enough to go watch this dull animation want to use Racetime as a swear word.

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