Saturday, June 7, 2008

So it's clear by now that Speed Racer is not the next Matrix (Of course neither was Matrix 2/3) but the Wachowski's have done some very amazing work in this film. Now the movie isn't great, but the Wachowski's did do a great job with the effects. Even if the movie wasn't amazing, it was a beautiful thing to look at.

The movie has a pretty complicated plot. Speed Racer (from the Racer family) is following in his brother's footsteps as a Race Car driver. Although unlike racing in our world these cars have been equipped with gadgets that cut each other's cars apart, allow the cars to flip over others, and other amazing feats. Speed's brother died in a horrible accident in an illegal cross country race and through a bunch of convoluted story lines Speed has to defy his father and compete in the same race to help bring down the owner of a huge company which is on of many huge corporations using the races to rack in the cash. Also there's another racer, Racer X, who always wears a mask and help Speed, who may or may not be his dead brother. And this is supposed to be a kids movie.

The movie has several huge problems: First the movie was marketed at kids, yet the running time is well over two hours. I don't know any kids that can sit still through a movie that goes much over 90 min and this one is way over that. Also for a "Kids" movie the movie has way too convoluted a plot as seen above, and when the main villain gives his "Big Speech" it's so far above the heads of most teenagers that I know the kids didn't understand a single word of it. (It's all about stocks and corporations setting up races) Also the only part of the movie that really is "for kids" is Speed's little brother and his monkey, which for me were the most detracting part of the movie. Their scenes, for me, brought the movie to a screeching halt almost every time they were on screen.

Like I said the movie was beautiful and the racing screens were amazing. The movie really picked up in the race scenes and that's were the technical achievements shine through, unfortunately in a movie about racing, there's just simply not enough actual racing, and too much of the movie was spent talking. But for the racing scenes and the beautiful colors I would recommend everyone at least check this one out on an HDTV when it comes out.

The cast, including Emile Hirsch as Speed (left with Fox's Racer X), John Goodman as Pops Racers, Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer, and Christina Ricci as Speed's girl, Trixie, all do a good job with their characters, but the absolute best part of the movie was Matthew Fox. Fox steals the show as the mysterious Racer, and it's his arc that really drove the movie for me. Is Racer X a friend or a foe, what are his motives, is he really Speed's brother or not? Whenever Fox appeared on screen my interest piqued and honestly I'd have rather seen a movie which followed his character around than anyone else in the film.

Overall I don't think the film was as bad as people are making it out to be. It's by no means a great film, but I think it's biggest weakness was a lack of editing. Had the movie been trimmed down to under 2 hours, had the bad guys motivations been either better explained (for the kids, of course) or changed altogether, and had they thrown in more Racing and Racer X, this could have been a much better film. (Actually had they edited tighter the amount of racing and Racer X currently in the film might have been perfect for a shorter film)

Again I'd recommend this one to anyone with an HDTV who wants to see some fantastic colors and imagery once it hits DVD.


Anonymous said...

The movie sucked. Why try to convince people to waste their money ?

The CineManiac said...

Well as I said I didn't think it sucked, I didn't think it was a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it had some good scenes in it and so I gave my opinion.
Sorry if you don't agree, Anonymous.

jana said...

Hey Trav! I'm still waiting for your impressions of Indiana Jones! How's the class going?

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