|Crazy Visuals For Your Eyes||5 out of 5 users found this review helpful.|
The review below was written by a Staff Member
The cartoon first came out in Japan as Mahha GoGoGo in 1967. That was before my time. Growing up, my older brother and I had this really cool UHF channel in our area that showed the cartoon. We loved it. We didn't get many Japanese cartoons but could see that this was different than the usual Flinstones or Scooby-Doo. The Mach V was what it was all about. It was the ultimate car that every kid wanted to have when they grew up. We could only dream about seeing a real-life version. Even from the opening credits we knew it was different. I mean a car gets knocked off the track and explodes. Sure we had Looney Tunes explosions but this was something else entirely.
A live action movie directed by the Wachowski Brothers. I loved the first Matrix but wasn't overly thrilled with 2 or 3. Then the reports of a rated G movie made my stomach sink further. Turns out it made it to PG so I felt a little better.
First of all, you have to go into the movie with the proper mindset. Forget everyone that's trying to "act cool" and say how bad it is when they haven't even seen it. This is a movie base on a cartoon. You've seen the crazy stuff that the cars do in the trailer. Just accept that. It's not supposed to be real. It also has that Dick Tracy (the movie) feel with all the bright colors. Don't hold that against Speed Racer. Bottom line. I liked it. A lot.
You can take the fact that I loved the cartoon either way. It doesn't mean I'm going to automatically love a movie version. If anything, I'm going to be more critical. The Wachowski Brothers did a great job of capturing the feel of Speed's entire world. Is there a lot of CG? Are there so many colors that your eyes sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store? Yes to both. Do the all car scenes look real? Not always. That's besides the point. It's a movie.
It was very faithful to the original characters. Speed is a kid that simply wants to drive. Fast. He has his family and there's the mysterious (and ultra cool) Racer X in the wings. You even have other characters like Snake Oiler and Inspector Detector. The cars are accurate along with all the crazy and cool gadgets (with a couple tweaks). The movie got pretty intense at times. My little girl was on the edge of her seat (she was almost five at the time). I could see that maybe all the craziness of the CG and multitude of colors might be a bit much (like for my wife). I enjoyed it all. Also true to the cartoon, we got some pretty cool fight scenes, both in cars and out! Fighting with cars, what a concept.
Is it a family film? Sort of. The sense of family is a strong theme in the movie. It's shown that Speed has a great caring family that supports him and he will do anything for them also. Some of the movie might not have been completely appropriate for my little girl but there were so many other parts that made up for it. She was cracking up non-stop during the credits with all the scenes of Chim-Chim. She was even singing along with the theme song at the end even though she hadn't heard it before (I've been holding back showing her my Speed Racer DVDs). On our way home she asked me if there was going to be another Speed Racer movie. I have to say that I do hope so. If nothing else, I'll even take a Racer X movie. That'd be pretty bad-ass. I'm afraid it wasn't successful enough in the box office to justify one.
So is this movie for you? It just depends. It's not a masterpiece type of film. It's not meant to be. It's pure entertainment. The acting and story were great. I was not disappointed with the movie. This is a movie I will watch numerous times. I already bought it on Blu-ray when it came out. The kid and I just watched it again a couple weeks ago. That's another thing. If you have the chance, see the movie at a theatre that has digital projectors. My neighborhood theatre has the DLP projectors. It's the only way I can watch movies now. I can't stand the splice marks or break in audio you get from the old-fashioned film projectors. A movie with these visuals should be seen through a digital projector.
It may not be an award-winning film but who cares. It was 135 minutes of pure adrenaline filled action.