|Speed Racer (Three-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
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An over-the-top, sensory overload experience determined to replicate its frantic, television-anime origins, Speed Racer is wild enough to induce a headache or wow a viewer with one dazzling effect after another. Adapted for the big screen as a live-action feature, Speed Racer is written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the sibling team behind the intensely satisfying The Matrix and its busier, less interesting sequels. Where the rich mythmaking of The Matrix was entirely accessible, however, Speed Racer's overwhelming and gratuitously complicated story exposition is an enormous challenge to follow, let alone embrace. After a while, one simply surrenders to the unbroken din of dialogue concerning corporate chicanery, corruption in the sport of racing, and a value conflict between racing as a family business versus multinational cash cow. At the same time, the film's hyper-real equivalent of the old Speed Racer cartoon's great whoosh of color, motion, and edgy production design--such as inventive uses of scene-changing wipes, bold framing, shifting perspectives--are more overbearing than fun.
Emile Hirsch plays Speed Racer, younger brother of a deceased racing legend, Rex, and son of car designer Pops (John Goodman). The latter invented Speed's Mach 5, and is singularly unimpressed by an offer from a giant conglomerate that would lock Speed into exclusive racing services. Speed opts instead for family loyalty, incurring the wrath of the conglomerate's unctuous head (Roger Allam). With family honor on the line and the affections of girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) behind him, Speed hits the track in hopes of fulfilling his destiny as a master racer. The cast is largely enjoyable, including Susan Sarandon as Speed's mom, Matthew Fox as mysterious Racer X, and a pair of chimps as the irrepressible Chim-Chim. All well and good, but in a movie that lives or dies by the excitement level of races that look like computer-animated Hot Wheels action, Speed Racer is a dreary adventure. --Tom Keogh
Warner Brothers Speed Racer (Blu-ray) Start your engines and fasten your seatbelts for the high-octane adventure "Speed Racer", combining heartfelt family humor and groundbreaking visual effects. "Speed Racer" (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel of his thunderous Mach 5. With support from Pops and Mom Racer (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon), girlfriendTrixie (Christina Ricci), younger brother Spritle(Paulie Litt) and the mysterious Racer X (MatthewFox), Speed takes on fierce competitors to save his family's business and protect the sport he loves. When Speed steps onto the track, it's not just a race. It's an adrenaline-fueled, high-speed charge to the finish. "Go, Speed Racer, go".
- No Speed Racer, No!?!?!?
This movie had a whole lot of great elements from the old cartoon! It had great actors playing great characters! Every actor was more-or-less spot on! It had a great, almost cel shaded bubble gum style and look to it! It even had a great story! So, you ask, where did it fail? Car-fu. Well, the Wachowski brothers seem to have forgotten this is a story about racing and turned the whole thing into a story about aggressive "car-fu" driving. Now I, for one, feel NASCAR is boring but grand-prix and rally is not. Did they feel they couldn't make racing interesting? Hell, Talledega Nights almost made me feel NASCAR was exciting, imagine if these two (usually) talented directors had actually put effort into interesting and exciting race sequences! Alas, it was not to be and for me the lack of racing dropped this otherwise excellent movie a whole star and a half. It is worth a watch if your a fan of the old show, just know what your getting into. I'd like the Wachowski's to pull a Lucas and re-work the movie by redoing the car-fu as actual car races, but I'd better not hold my breath....more info
- Go SPEED
simply brilliant!!! Love the film and the complete Unique style of the visuals. I heard bad things from the reviews about this film, but when I took a chance on seeing it and buying the blu ray, I was simply astonished by it!
Being a fan of the original cartoon I thought the idea of a live action movie would lose the camp feeling of the series, but i was wrong. its faqntastic, and I'm quickly becoming a Wachowski fan.
and again love Michael Giacchino's score, brilliant music capturing the fun of the film. AND Matthew fox as Racer X was perfect!!
Seriously reccomend everyone at least give the movie a shot! It may not be to everyones liking, but it sure is a unique experience...more info
- A Complete Rollercoaster Ride!
The critics were absolutely DEAD WRONG about this movie. If you Metacritic this movie, the disconnect will become readily apparent. The Critic average was 37% while the User average was 79%. I unfortunately didn't pay much attention to the general public reviews at that point, but seeing Speed Racer utterly changed my opinion on that, especially after the critics gave Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a 75% average (I can only assume that they were paid off).
Luckily my sister convinced me to give Speed Racer a try. I was blown away. It is the most visually innovative film I have seen in I don't know how long. The races are spectacular, from the CG cars burning through the completely improbable tracks to the mid-race close ups that zoom from car to car, never breaking the flow of action. I expect the visual techniques used in Speed Racer to be emulated in much the same way that the techniques of The Matrix were and still are today.
As for the story and characters, they are fun, simple and over the top, precisely as they should be for this kind of movie. This brings me to one of the main points about this movie and why it succeeds so well, where so may other movies fail. Consistency. There is a consistency of language, tone, themes and visualization in this movie that is completely engaging. It never breaks its hyper-realistic form. Few films achieve the level of consistency that Speed Racer does. It's not Shakespeare and it never tries to be. It is a fun and exciting rollercoaster ride that rarely, if ever, lets up, all the way through to the spectacular ending.
Forget the critics on this one. If you want to have a fun, furious, visually explosive movie-going experience you owe it to yourself to see this movie. I can't recommend it enough. ...more info
- Very Fast
This is a pretty long movie, but the story starts running 100 miles an hour from beginning to end, so I really enjoyed it =)...more info
- Sparkle Motion
The important thing to remember about Speed Racer, is that it reveals the true meaning behind going to see a movie. Previously, I thought that the true beauty of a movie lay in the acting, writing, and directing. But now I realize that things like plot structure, set design, acting choices, are all just a vehicle to bring to audiences the Sparkly Light.
I watched this a few months ago. I don't remember much of what happened in the movie, except that it was entertaining enough. But my head is still reeling from having witnessed THE SPARKLE....more info
- A true Meteoro
When I was a Kid, this was my favorite series. This movie represent perfectly the spirit of the old Meteoro (Speed Racer)...more info
- As exciting as when I saw it at the theater!!!
Ever since i was a kid, I always dreamed of the day they'd make a Speed Racer movie. So when it finally came, it was going back to my childhood years!!!! I was so excited that at the end I was shouting with the audience!!! Now, having this wonderful Blu-ray edition at home allows me to enjoy over and over again the adventures that kept me going as a child!!!...more info
- 4 stars to see it once, but then that's enough
Visual eye candy that I saw on an Imax screen. I realize it's not for everyone, but I thought it was amazing to watch! The colors pop up like 50's faux-modern plastic, the acting is just a stilted as the original cartoon, and the plotline is appropriately silly. I absolutely was enthralled watching it all whiz by like Skittles for the eyes! But here's the thing - I don't think I ever need to see it again. And I also think that if I saw it on a normal screen or on TV, it would lose most of it's punch. So 4-stars for seeing it once in IMAX, but 2-stars for replay....more info
- Best Action Film of the Decade!
As a kid in the 1960's, I watched the Speed Racer cartoon a lot. It was an odd show, with a kerchief'd Pollyanna-esque main character navigating his way through hyper-exaggerated explosions and fist-fights with the Mob. All the characters sounded exactly alike, and spoke with rapid-fire bizarre inflections. This was my first exposure to what would later be called "anime," I guess...cartoons imported from Japan. I can't say I was a huge fan, but it made enough of an impression on me that, as an adult, I can still sing the theme song.
When it was announced that Hollywood was releasing a live action film based on the old show, I rolled my eyes. Haven't we had enough of this kind of exploitation of my childhood? And when the ads for the film appeared, my opinion was sealed-I was convinced that they had `ruined' Speed Racer. To me, the ad campaign did nothing to sell it, and I presume that people like me who had good memories of the original were their prime audience.
Then it hit DVD, and on a slow weekend I decided to give it a chance. The film opens with blasts of color and fast editing, and the first ten minutes or so jump around between several different time periods. On first viewing, this can be very confusing, and I still wasn't sold. But by the time the film was 30-minutes in, I realized that I was completely hooked, that I cared about the characters, was biting my nails through the high-energy, high-chroma action scenes, and that my heart was pounding along to the soundtrack, and soaring with the notes of the classic theme song.
I have now seen the film about a dozen times, and it just gets better and better. It's the perfect action movie. The casting is inspired, the story is bold (I hesitate to say "cartoonish") but has enough twists and turns that you will find yourself understanding details of it better on subsequent viewings. And if you aren't cheering out loud for Speed in the final race, well, you just have no heart.
This movie pulled off one miracle in particular--the characters of Spritle & Chim-Chim seemed certain to be the most hated characters in movie history (they sure dragged the cartoon down, even for a young viewer!). And yet through a judicious script, excellent casting, and brilliant direction, I actually find myself loving those characters and their perfect dosage of comic relief. I don't know how they pulled it off, but Spritle and Chim-Chim steal the show, at least as far as the secondary plot is concerned. They should have ruined the film but instead they added a wonderful dimension to it (and even some laughs during the end credits).
Casting for Speed and his family is also perfect. Susan Sarandon and John Goodman manage to bring tears to my eyes in a couple of scenes, even in the middle of a super-stylish "cartoon" movie! And Speed is played by Emile Hirsch with just the perfect blend of heroism and naivet¨¦ to capture the essence of the old 60's character's true "goodness" without making you throw your popcorn at the screen with a groan. Mathew Fox as Racer "X" was another master stroke. Yes, the casting and the acting in this film is perfect for its smart & wild presentation, and involve you emotionally without ever stopping the action. You have to see the film to appreciate what I mean.
If you enjoy fast-paced action and a hero to cheer for, please give this film a chance - it may end up among your favorite action films, especially if you have any fond memories of the old cartoon (and its theme music). I find myself shamed that I did not see this in theaters, so that I could have "cast my vote" for a sequel, but the least I can do is upgrade my DVD to a Blu-Ray copy--this is one movie that I can watch over and over, and have done so!!
By the way, with the exception of one or two expletives and a quick hand gesture, even younger kids can fall in love with this film. My boys (7 & 9) love it, though I had to make a very slightly "edited" version for them. I can see why they scripted it as they did, and those scenes provided some good laughs, but as a father I do wish they had just chopped out those words. It's too bad that Blu-Ray technology couldn't have been leveraged to provide a slightly 'cleaner' path through the movie for younger audiences. On the other hand, I'm very sensitive to language around my kids and several other parents I know have shown this film to theirs without any hesitation at all. Just wanted to mention it.
I wish there would be a sequel, I really do. This movie falls easily in with my top-ten action movies of all time.
- A horrible, horrible movie!
This is a shockingly, stunningly, obscenely bad movie. The story and script were apparently written by mushroom eating manatees. The acting was stilted and it was clear that every one of the cast regretted having signed on for this abomination. The visuals are impressive....assuming you're a big fan of Candyland. Do yourself a favor and avoid this movie like the plague. Every movie Uwe Boll ever directed looks like Oscar material compared to this astonishing exercise in putridness....more info
- A stunning movie that rocks the house on Blu-Ray!
I can't imagine a better flick to show off your Blu-Ray/HDTV rig than this one. The Wachowski Bros. have succeeded in doing something at which many others have tried and failed: creating a live-action cartoon. Which is not to say IN THE LEAST that this is a silly or kid-only film. Despite the mega-doses of Matrix-esque flash and dash, this is a great family film that has some serious heart to it, and which I feel was horribly maligned by the critics and movie-goers who weren't ready for what they were going to see and either couldn't or wouldn't go with the flow. But for ANYONE that ever geeked out to a Speed Racer cartoon at any age, you owe it to yourself to get this movie!
Having seen it in IMAX twice, I was concerned that it wouldn't be as magical in a home video environment. I needn't have worried, though my 58" HD plasma display didn't hurt things! ;) The movie remains entirely absorbing and visually stunning as no other movie I've ever seen. The hyperkinetic, color-saturated world of Speed Racer is utterly breathtaking and perfectly suited for Blu-Ray. I'd really hate to see it any lesser format. The Wachowskis have done again what they did in the Matrix trilogy: shown us things we've never before seen in a movie. Ignore the uptight critics and the anti-hype. Do yourself and your family a favor and pick this puppy up today!...more info
- Thank you
Thank you for getting this movie to me so fast. My brother loved opening it on his birthday!!!...more info
great film, all the fun of the original series with updates. The actor who plays Spridal is annoying, and his segments should have been edited (or dropped completely...)....more info
- No plot, but great graphics
This movie put me to sleep, literally. My kids were confused by the back-and-forth beginning.
However, the graphics were excellent, and it should shine on HD. ...more info
- 5 stars for the movie, 1 star removed for the packaging ...
This is a marvellous movie. The level of imagination, work and style is breathtaking and as a jaded 44 year old I deeply loved it.
However: where's the HD audio, where's the serious extras (if any movie deserves a production analysis documentary then this one does - there IS one on the disc but it's flimsy) and WHY IS MY BOX BROKEN?!
The last question is a real bone of contention. Some multi disc Blu-Ray releases are packaged in a standard sized box with a moving section inside to accommodate the extra discs. I've got three of these boxes (Firefly, Speed Racer, When we left the Planet) and two have been broken on arrival. The plastic used is totally inadequate for the hinge mechanism required to move the disc flap and also it will not accept super-glue. It's astonishingly poor quality design and materials and I can guarantee I'm not the only person with broken boxes. Please stop using this design you manufacturing types!
- bad horrible movie
it was the worst movie i have ever watched i had no idea what was going on the entire time it had cheesy disturbing part where bad things were happening the worst was it went on forever
what a piece of junk ...more info
- SPEED RACER GETS UPDATED AND IS SURPRISINGLY ENTERTAINING!
I would run home from school everyday to watch the original cartoon and I wasn't sure this new film would do justice to one of my favorite childhood memories. 'Speed Racer' the movie does a great job of capturing the excitement of the cartoon for the most part, but there are a few small problems.
The film's super slick look and chaotic races are jarring at first, but once you settle down and realize this is a new vision, fans of the original should be happy. The races are a little confusing at times which is a little frustrating, but the overall feel of the film is very good.
The cast is perfect except for Sparky.... who isn't really bad in the role, but does not resemble the original character in the cartoon! I wish there was more of the Mach 5 and the use of it's many weapons and gadgets as the film is over two hours long....you would think there would be plenty of screen time for the use of the gadgets!
I'm not bashing the film as it was way better than I expected it to be, but I can understand some fan's frustrations with it. One other problem is you had better have a state of the art monitor to view this film on or your poor TV set will be battling to keep up with the incredible graphics!
Speed Racer is a insane ride and for the most part you should be amazed, just be prepared to have some frustration in the process! I can only hope that DVD sales are very good, because I would love a sequel that might fix some of these flaws. Go Speed Racer Go!...more info
- Speed Racer...
The Year: 1970
The Time: 4:30pm, Monday thru Friday
The Channel: 52/KBSC-TV, Corona
That station, which operated about 4 hours a day (well before it became ON Subscription Television), showed many of the Speed Racer episodes with which I and many of my male classmates became familiar.
So when I learned that Speed Racer was being made into a feature film, the first question: Who is being cast for what? As soon as I saw the lineup, I said to myself, "There's no way I'm going to spend my hard-earned cash in a theatre on this flick." So, I didn't. Well, it made the cable channel lineup this week, so I gave it a shot. I'm glad that I kept my money in my pocket. Don't get me wrong, it has the following points in it's favor:
1. Mr. Goodman make an excellent Pops Racer
2. Roger Allam (as usual) make a great over-the-top racing mogul
But, that's about all it. The action was mostly CGI (of course), and it just made me dizzy. For a Speed Racer purist (like me), the movie ultimately fell flat. Oh, well...I rate this effort 3 stars......more info
- Quick Transaction
This movie arrived quickly in mint condition and new shrink wrapping. My son is going to love it!...more info
- You think you can drive a car and change the world? It doesn't work like that!
"Speed Racer" bemoans corporately financed entertainment for the masses while serving as a fine example thereof. So as big, blaring blockbusters go, it's a bit of a hypocrite. It is also self-congratulatory. When Susan Sarandon's Mom Racer (think Jane Jetson without the pre-feminist itch to shop) tells her son, Speed, played by Emile Hirsch, that what he does may be machine-driven but it's "art" that "takes my breath away," the whap-whap-whap you hear isn't a blown tire, it's brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski patting themselves on the back.
But "Speed Racer" doesn't look like any other movie. At its best, it's buoyant pop entertainment focused on three things: speed, racing and retina-splitting oceans of digitally captured color. The Wachowskis' first project as writers-directors since their "Matrix" trilogy resembles the aftermath of a big box of Dots flung at the world's largest set of Fiesta dinnerware. The palette makes Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" look like "Stranger Than Paradise."
Aired on Japanese television in 1967 and, a few months later, dubbed into English for eager, crash-crazy American tots, "Speed Racer" ("Mach Go-Go-Go" in Japanese) came from the world of comic books. The Wachowskis respect the dynamism of the original drawings, while carving out their own middle ground between computer animation and live action. They respect also the themes of honor, dishonor, family loyalty and Visigoth-inspired barbarism behind the wheel.
The TV show's appeal was pretty simple. As the theme song exhorted its hero to "go, Speed Racer, go, Speed Racer, go, Speed Racer, go," millions of kids watched one of Speed's anonymous rivals crash through a guardrail and (presumably) perish in a ball of flame. Fiery fatality backed by a peppy major-chord theme: yeah!
In the Wachowskis' film, a crash impact immerses the unfortunate driver in a foam like substance, bouncing him like a rubber ball out of harm's way. Then, periodically, a big ball of plot rolls onto the track to take its place. The screenplay pits Speed against the conniving head of Royalton Industries, who is trying to lure the boy-man with the Elvis hair onto Royalton's all-star racing team. The big races, Speed learns, have been fixed by Royalton (Roger Allam) and his cronies.
Royalton's trying to engineer the stock fortunes of two competing Japanese firms. Younger viewers may wonder what's at stake in these scenes. Also, the welter of flashbacks relating to the disgrace and apparent death of Speed's racer brother, Rex, gets a little thick. (Matthew Fox plays Racer X, who may be Rex in do-gooder disguise.) "Dad, can I have your notebook and pen a second?" whispered my 7-year-old son at one point early on. His comment: "THIS MOVIE MAKES NO SENSE." But 20 minutes and one big race later, he was fully engrossed.
The movie starts and ends beautifully, with two nighttime races book ending the rest. The deadly cross-country rally in between has its brainless pleasures as well. The rhythms of the action sequences, edited by Zach Staenberg and Roger Barton with a maniacal edge, are frantic but not quite incoherent, which these days is saying something. A typical 10-second race sequence begins with an aerial perspective of a mountaintop road; then, without conventional cuts, we're inside the cockpit with Speed, and then, zwooop, we're whisked inside Trixie's cockpit a few hundred yards behind him, then, zwooop, back for a close-up of Speed. Such illusions of fluidity take the computer-generated sting out of the proceedings.
Hacking their way through exposition, the Wachowskis' skills haven't improved much since those Oracle scenes in their first "Matrix" picture. "Speed, before you go," says John Goodman's gruff Pops Racer, the owner of the family racing business, "I'd like to say a few things." What seems like several hours later, Hirsch's Speed catches the rest of his family listening to his heart-to-heart. "You were listening the whole time?" he asks. He may as well have added: "I mean, that was a lot of unnecessary dialogue!"
The Wachowskis leave it to a strong cast of earnest, gently playful actors to untangle such thickets. The aggressively multinational ensemble of "Speed Racer," featuring everyone from Korean vocalist Rain as one of Speed's rivals to Narges Rashidi as "Persian Announcer," recalls '60s vehicles such as "Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies." And while Christina Ricci may not have much to do as Trixie, she's second to none when it comes to a skeptical arch of her left eyebrow, accompanied by composer Michael Giacchino's tingggg on the triangle.
Straight out of the TV series, not to mention such later time-wasters as "Wacky Races," the gimmicky weaponry--spear hooks, oil slicks, buzz saws--hasn't changed since the old days. Only the technology has changed. The film runs an overgenerous two hours and 15 minutes, and it sags in its midsection. But of course Boomers can relate to that. Not everybody can create a freshly conceived visual universe. The Wachowskis can.
- Speed Racer by Brandon M. Moskos
I was pretty disappointed in this film. I thought it would've been a lot better. I bought it because Emile Hirsch is one of my favorite actors, (See "Into the Wild" if you haven't seen it yet!) I found the movie to be quite boring and I really found it difficult to watch the whole thing. The acting was average and so was the story. I give it a C. I think younger people under 15 would enjoy this movie more than older people. Quite disappointing....more info
- Primary coloured and neon lit
Clearly, if the creators (The Wachowski brothers, directors of The Matrix) of the movie want you to remember anything about it- it's the BRIGHT COLORS.
This is movie making from the pages of a comic book, with the colors, acting and plot that this entails. When it started, it was so garish and hyperkinetic that I prepared myself for the worst... however, I have to admit that as I watched it, it actually did start to suck me in to this bizarre pseudo reality, and I began rooting for Speed Racer (That's his name, not just his title..).
Speed Racer is the car obsessed son in the Racer family, his father the designer of racing cars. When he starts performing in major races, a huge corporate sponsor woos him, but amazingly, it turns out that the big corporation has money, and not the best interests of the Racer Family, at heart. A few chases later, via a mysterious ally, an uneasy alliance with a rival Japanese driver, and ninjas, we reach the good versus bad confrontation.
Nothing about this is real - everything is hyper real in a calculated way - remember, this is adapted from a Japanese anime. Yet the actors, even in a wide eyed cartoon style way, do gradually do make you accept they might just be believable. Even if on the podium the winners drink a hyper white milk, rather than any other sparkling drinks...
The story linking the action scenes is actually passable, and is actually a welcome relief from the action scenes which could leave you woozy with an overdose of movement and primary colors which are pretty sickly after a while...just remember this is skewed young, yet the story does have a little depth for grown-ups too.
The gimmick here is the effects, and though the effect may not be to everyone's cup of tea, the effects are seamless. This sort of cartoonish hyper reality may just be what cgi was meant for.
The movie as a whole is not a complete success.. that's for sure. But neither is it a disaster.. this is at the very least innovative and imaginative cinema - you wont see another movie like Speed Racer this year, and the derision it received in some quarters smacks of close-mindedness. So if you can stomach the nausea inducing frantic movement of bright pink and red and yellow, and want to see something a little different, then why not give it a shot?
- The Perfect Live-Action Cartoon
Now, I've seen my share of cartoons elevated to live-action in The Big Hollywood Show. Some were abysmal, like Casper. Some actually were pretty good, like the first Scooby-Doo movie. But while the movies and the originals are related, they're still separate elements, each their own thing. A cartoon can't be live-action and stay true to its cartoon-ness. Cartoons offer impossible contortion and endless manipulation of set and scene, action and POV, and most importantly the complete and total abrogation of the laws of physics, not to mention that whole life/death thing. But then came this movie. This movie is as true to the original Speed Racer cartoon as it possibly can be; it is without a doubt the best live-action cartoon that has yet to be made.
Now, what do I mean by live-action cartoon? Well, Shoot 'Em Up is a cartoon, and its success is that it knows this, and doesn't take itself that seriously. But junk like the The Fast and the Furious and The Transporter Collection movies, they pretend to some kind of legitimacy, while telling an action-packed story they're essentially remaining in the realm of the possible, despite physical laws and imperatives going out the window with the first chase scene.
A live-action cartoon is not just swapping people and sets for cells and/or backgrounds, auteur production designers for Korean animators, and the mandatory CGI green screen. It's so much deeper than that. A true live-action cartoon is about the delicate translation of the unique cartoon cosmos, the rhythm and feel of the original cartoon into live action, about pacing and timbre and capturing the essence--nay, the very soul!--of a that 2-D rendering in the immensely challenging venue of full-on 3-D, with real actors.
Of course, the CGI helps immensely, and this movie has got it like mad. But, despite the numbing presence and absolutely crucial role CGI plays in setting the scenes and keeping the action excruciatingly intense, the computer power does not overwhelm and take over the film, as so unpleasantly was the case in the The Golden Compass, Narnia, etc.
If you're a deep fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon, you'll love this film. You'll see more in the characters, the scenes, the posing and in the action than others will. You've got the original Speed Racer theme song, pumped up and roaring. You've got Spritle and Chim-Chim in the trunk, with the candy. You've got the cartoon-impossible car-racing action, right out of the original show, with the gadgets and flips and spins. You've even got Speed's classic pose from the end of the opening credits, if you're quick enough to catch it.
Two of the film's fight scenes, one with the family in a hotel room and the other with the bad guys in a mountain wayside are what made this film for me. Both are right out of the original cartoon, with Pops wading in with his moustachio'd, huge-armed ferocity and hilarity. The editing and pacing are right out of the cartoon, with the moves and even the camera angles so very similar. This was as live-action as it could get, and they worked as original/derived action sequences, while evoking the sweet childhood memory of afternoons sneaking off to a buddy's house to watch the cartoon.
The cartoon fantasy starts immediately. Physics as we live it is completely irrelevant, with cars traveling somewhere around 500 mph, the drivers intentionally doing flips, spins and pirouettes while airborne as part of their racing craft. The physical structures in the scenes are beyond outrageous, as are the characters, the cars and the engines that power them.
In keeping with the original cartoon, no one is killed in this movie. My mother forbade me to watch this show, its fighting and gunplay, car wrecks and explosions too violent for her taste. I nodded in solemn resignation, then went down the street to Adam's house to watch it every day. But in this film, as in the cartoon, no one dies. It's like the The A-Team; the driver is thrown clear from his car, with futuristic escape and safety devices. The physical violence is thoroughly cartoon-y, with no blood or gore.
The film even keeps the original character names, with Snake Oiler and even Crusher Block. Inspector Detector plays a major role, but I guess that CGI just hasn't progressed to the point to always have his beard sticking perpendicularly out from the side of his face. You've got the car acrobatic team, racing through ice caves, driving up a mountain, helicopters chasing the race, a bit of Mammoth Car homage, and with more than enough Japanese content to place the film in its original Nippon.
And the colors, oh, the dizzying colors. They are intense as they can be, a near-nauseating blast of sparkling, flashing, whizzing and blurring colors, with everything in motion. This isn't the straightforward chromatic assault we got from Dick Tracy, but is a thousand times more intense, all of the colors brighter, more day-glo, more intense, and always moving.
The film bogs down only slightly in a couple of spots, when we get a bit too deep into Speed's adoration of his martyred brother and the overemphasized father-son relationship themes. Racer X's treatment and portrayal are outstanding in every way, right down to his car. I was disappointed to see the ravishing Susan Sarandon made out to be far more of a boring matron than I perceive her to be.
Bottom line: I loved Speed Racer as a kid, but watching the original cartoon now is a joke because it is so low-budget and truly one-dimensional. It's clear the Wachowski Brothers loved the show, too, so meticulous is their deep and spot-on translation of this Japanime classic into a CGI-powered memory for the next generation....more info
- AMAZING technical wizardry, but - Speed Racer?
Ok, this is probably one of the most amazing technical movies I've ever seen - very well acted, especially by Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer, who was just amazing in this, but - Speed Racer??
My 2 cents.
If you're really really into speed racer the cartoon, you must have this.
if you really liked the middle and last matrix movie, you'll probably like this. probably not enough to make it worth buying tho :(.
If you're into the technical feats of making cutting edge movies, get this and watch the extra stuff.
Beyond that? um - yeah, rent it maybe? (which is what I did).
Still and all - it's a really mazing movie, technically - just amazing feats of digital movie making, and it's several steps beyond bullettime from the first matrix movie :). (I KNOW Kung FU! ;) )...more info
- A gem.
The Wachowski Brothers' (The Matrix Trilogy) adaptation of the Japanese children's cartoon Speed Racer falls between a rock and rather hard place if you will. On the one hand, the cartoonish humor and imagery is incredibly faithful to its roots and will certainly dazzle the kiddies. On the other hand, the film's storyline, which deals with race outcome fixing, stock markets and corporate takeovers, will most likely fly over the head of anyone who hasn't taken at least high school economics.
Still, I can't help but love this movie. Maybe it's because I love fast cars and racing, and this is the first movie I've seen that really works to convey the love driving for the sake of driving. I know it's certainly not because of my history with the TV show the film is based upon, as I have none. I think it's more that the film, even with it's gravity-defying race scenes and weird and wacky humor, has so much heart.
Movies filmed in front of green-screens aren't known for their emotional resonance, and most actors will admit that it's harder to create the performance they'd like when they have nothing visual to go off of. The fact that Speed Racer has emotional depth that it does is a testament to the terrific cast. Emile Hirsch hits the nail on the head perfectly as Speed, as do John Goodman and Susan Sarandan as Pops Racer and Speed's mother. The rest of the ensemble cast, including Matthew Fox (whose agent should consider his role as the enigmatic Racer X an audition for the upcoming Captain America film) and Christina Ricci as Trixie, are great also.
It may wear its cheesey heart on its sleeve, but at least the film has a heart. You feel the close-knit bond of the Racer family every time they're on screen, and Hirsch channels Speed's utter adoration for his older brother Rex beautifully without ever over doing it. Even amidst all the CG race cars, the family and their relationships are never lost, and one can't help but cheer Speed on in the film's fantastic, if predictable, climax.
Call it cheese, but I can't help but adore this movie. It might not work as either a proper kids movie and might be too silly and outlandish for most adults, but if you can strike that chord with it, Speed Racer is a beautiful movie. A hidden gem, and one the critics completely missed the boat on....more info
- True to the Spirit of the Original
I grew up watching Speed Racer after school. I was not sure what to expect from this movie, but all I can say is that it gave me goosebumps at times - especially the subtle music cues. Sure it's a bit cartoonish - but that's the point. My only problem with the movie is that for some silly reason, they decided to have Spritle 'flip the bird' which doesn't fit with the overall tone of the movie - otherwise I would be showing this to my kids right now....more info
- Great deal!
The 3-disc set is great! The bonus features are cool and the digital copy is nice to keep on your computer. Blu-ray graphics are amazing!...more info
- It was Ok
Well this film was Ok, and this is coming from a fan who watched almost every episode of the show so I know what im talking about. They really could've done better with this film, making it more, down to earth. The fight scene's were good, but looked a little too kiddish. I praised the desighn of the Mach 5 & 6 race cars, they were just soo awsome to watch. The different move's they pulled off in the races were pretty clever and fun to watch. The plot was cool too but im not gonna give it away if you never watched the film. Overall this was a pretty good movie to me, but if your not a fan, it'll probobly be a little slow....more info
- Surprised At How Much I Enjoyed It
In spite of being a big fan of the cartoon, I skipped this movie in theatres due to so many bad reviews. I figured just another great childhood memory destroyed in pursuit of the mighty dollar. I was mistaken. The movie strives and achieves preservation of so many great elements from the original series.
That being said, it is easy to understand why so many did not enjoy Speed Racer on the big screen. Its frantic pace and blazing effects would be overwhelming in a theatre (much better suited to a smaller screen). I think the biggest flaw could have easily been solved in editing. The first fifteen minutes are very, very difficult to follow with too many confusing flashbacks. It left me feeling irritated that they didn't take time to ease us into the story.
Once the movie settles down, it really shines. Seamless blending of live characters with animated scenery. Mary Poppins would be amazing with these effects. Well-cast, even Spridle and Chim Chim add to the fun. The portrayal of the villians matches the cartoon and the sound of the Mach 5 jumping made me feel 10 years old again. A great job re-creating the series!!! Its a shame their effort was under-appreciated....more info
- kids love it!!
we saw this at the theater, but they were still excited to get it on dvd. there's plenty of action and cool cars, along with a little plot twist. this movie looks like it will be hit with these guys for a long time to come....more info