Speed Racer (2008)

PG   |    |  Action, Adventure, Comedy


Speed Racer (2008) Poster

A young driver, Speed Racer, aspires to be champion of the racing world with the help of his family and his high-tech Mach 5 automobile.

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6/10
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  • Susan Sarandon and Matthew Fox at an event for Speed Racer (2008)
  • Christina Ricci and Emile Hirsch at an event for Speed Racer (2008)
  • Emile Hirsch at an event for Speed Racer (2008)
  • Rain in Speed Racer (2008)
  • Paulie Litt in Speed Racer (2008)
  • Emile Hirsch in Speed Racer (2008)

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11 May 2008 | murphmeister75
5
| A Brave New World...
I'm not sure there has ever been a movie like Speed Racer. And what continues to baffle me is how this movie ever got green-lighted.

The original Speed Racer, which ran for only a short time, was basically a campy sixties cartoon that lived on as cult television. Forty years after the show was made, thirty since it was popular in the US, and fourteen years after its aborted television revival, the reboot hits our screens. Most of its original audience are far too old to cope with the epilepsy inducing visuals and MTV speed editing. Who is this movie aimed at? I should make a point here. All of Speed Racer's achievements are technical: the visuals are nothing short of staggering, when seen on high-grade digital projection. See this movie on the biggest, best screen you can, because by the time it hits DVD it will lose a lot. Even on a mammoth TV - trust me, what's left when you strip away the visuals is a shocking shambles of a film.

And before you moan "It's meant to be corny!" or "It's for kids!", I'm not attacking the bizarre stylised dialogue and campy acting.

The story's too complex. The film is miles too long - at least sixty minutes or more. The casting is crazy - check out Spy Kids if you want to know how to fill roles like Racer X, because an actor like Matthew Fox is absolutely wrong. Goodman, Sarandon and Ricci do better, and Emile Hirsch is actually plastic enough to fit in with the rest of the synthetic visuals.

Ultimately, I can see huge appeal for the video game generation here and no one else. They're accustomed to horrible cut-scene acting, bad dialogue and having to spend hours waiting for the grand finale. And as risible as this film is, and butt-numbing as its length is, the visual achievement from the Wachowski Brothers is landmark. If you're serious about cinema, you must see this film in IMAX, or large-scale digital projection. See it to get a glimpse at the visual potential of the future.

Let's just hope it has a better script.

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