Reel Shorts | Speed Racer

9 05 2008

Fresh off the disaster that were the two final films in “The Matrix” trilogy, The Wachowski Brothers again climb into the director’s chair hoping to create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, “Speed Racer” is definitely more miss than hit.

Under the curious eye of the Wachowski’s, the story unfolds in an absolutely complex and confusing matter. For the first 45 of the most painful and befuddling minutes on screen this year, they give us super-bright colors, multiple flashback scenes that really slow down the story. We learn that Speed was a distracted student who only lived to race, idolized his older brother Rex (Matthew Fox) and has a loving girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci). Racing in his passion and in his blood courtesy of his strong-willed father, Pops (John Goodman) and his meddlesome younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and his monkey companion Shim-Shim.

Amid bright flashing lights, we observe Speed preparing to race as his life literally flashes before him (and unfortunately us). As his backstory unfolds, we find out that his brother Rex died in a crash after defying Pops orders and a billionaire race car owner, Royalton (Roger Allam), is trying to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon our hero is crossed, double crossed and almost down for the count.

With the help of the mysterious Racer X (Fox) and Inspector Detector (Benno Fürmann), Speed tries to use his sizable talents to help clean up the film’s absolutely dirty and corrupt game of high-speed racing and bring down foils such as Snake Oiler and Cannonball Taylor.

Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer Go!

Much like Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice,” The Wachowski Brothers have taken everything that was fun about the anime series and made it far too complicated. It as if “Speed Racer” was two movies, one dramatic adult tale of corruption and intrigue and the other a more light-hearted yarn that attempted to capture the fun, cool vibe of the original.

While the Wachowski’s muddle up the story, you’ve got to give them credit for the film’s visual effects. One thing for certain no other film this year will LOOK like “Speed Racer.” With bright, vibrant colors that would have made “Dick Tracy” proud, the effects is overwhelming during the first part of the film before the brothers strike a proper balance toward the end of the film. The film’s other problem is that with a running time of 129 minutes, the film is WAAAY too long. They could have easily cut between 25-35 minutes out the film and that may have improved it somewhat.

With a screenplay that is all over the place and too many moments when it felt like I was watching a video game instead of a movie, “Speed Racer” as a film is a better idea than actual product. Featuring the year’s most annoying character in Spritle, it was also quite puzzling that one of the film’s subplot villified the ethnic group that created the original anime series.

After sinking the the last two “Matrix” films and not being able to close the deal with this popular cult classic, it’s time to go back to the drawing board for the former wunderkinds. It is ironic that a story about high-speed far too often feels like its moving in slow motion.

What was Susan Sarandon doing in this story? The Wachowski Brothers even commit a serious breach of the story’s ethics by unmasking Racer X and changing the number of Speed’s fabled Mach 5. After the cinematic devastation unleashed by Marvel heavyweight, “Iron Man” last week, there’s nothing there that promises to stop that juggernaut’s momentum this weekend. So Speed, here’s sour milk in your eye!

Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer PLEASE Go! (and take the Wachowski Brothers with you!)

Grade: D+

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8 responses

9 05 2008
erica c

whether or not you’re a fan of the movie you can’t deny the love of the cartoon. check it out for free online on Hulu : http://www.hulu.com/speed-racer?cmpid=emc&trackid=9

10 05 2008
entertainment

[…] create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, ???Speed Racer??? is definitely more mhttps://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/sour-milk-speed-racer/Entertainment News Celebrity News Arts &amp Entertainment – New …Entertainment News, celebrity […]

11 05 2008
Christina Ricci | Sour Milk | Speed Racer

[…] Fresh off the disaster that were the two final films in “The Matrix” trilogy, The Wachowski Brothers again climb into the director’s chair hoping to create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, “Speed Racer” is definitely more miss than hit. Under the curious eye of the Wachowski’s, … Source: Sour Milk | Speed Racer […]

15 05 2008
the matrix

[…] create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, ???Speed Racer??? is definitely more mhttps://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/sour-milk-speed-racer/Simulacra and Simulation: Baudrillard and THE MATRIXPhilosophers can get pretty excited about the […]

15 05 2008
patrick

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

30 05 2008
matrix definition

[…] create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, ???Speed Racer??? is definitely more mhttps://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/sour-milk-speed-racer/matrix definition – Dictionary – MSN EncartaDefinition:. 1. arrangement of connected things: an […]

12 06 2008
film moments

[…] create a new PG franchise. Despite some entertaining moments, ???Speed Racer??? is definitely more mhttps://filmgordon.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/sour-milk-speed-racer/The 8 Most Cringe-Worthy Comic Book Movie Moments Cracked.comThe 8 Most Cringe-Worthy Comic Book […]

14 06 2008
Why “Speed Racer” Crashed and Burned! « FilmGordon

[…] that had so much promise and looked so good, so badly missed the mark for summer audiences. “Speed Racer” should serve as a cautionary note to future filmmakers that “all that glitters is […]

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