June 2, 2008


Posted in Action, Adventure, Family-Oriented, Movies, Sci-Fi at 7:55 pm by inflickted

Speed Racer

I am telling you now I am unfamiliar with the English-adapted-anime-turned-movie called Speed Racer. But I do have some idea. I’ve seen show on cartoon network (although I didn’t really watch it). I remember that the cartoon is very shallow (plot-wise) and the voice actors are seemingly on crack as they issue their lines.

And the movie isn’t different. Spectacular Saturation is a great way of describing the action and the effects the movie has to offer. But at the same time, the film is challenged by its limited script. Speed Racer challenges us to see the movie in the different perspectives of a movie-goer. One may see it as an offering which is all style but no substance and dismiss it. Another is based on the notion that the style’s scope is so innovative and intricate that it is seemingly art. Of course each perspective is to their own and cannot be imposed. So which is mine?

To know that, let us analyze what makes this film awesome and crappy at the same time. In keeping with the tradition of being full-fledged science fiction enthusiasts, the Wachowski brothers have taken the lamest of concepts and have given it a spin that isn’t just stunning on the eyes, but also rather innovative and inspired. What makes the whole thing worthwhile is the fact that the movie makers can gain inspiration on such a lame foundation to begin with.

The actors’ performance are all average. I mean, no one among them will be winning an MTV movie award anytime soon. But to give credit where it is due, Emile Hirsh as Speed Racer was not bad. Other actors like John Goodman (Pops), Susan Sarandon (Mom), Cristina Ricci (Trixie), and Matthew Fox (Racer X) made the most of their roles. What would you expect given the lack of depth and emotion their characters had! I mean, Speed Racer’s mother didn’t have a proper name!

The most who deserved praise and at the same time criticism are the directors. Andy and Larry Wachowski, the guys who gave us the astounding trilogy of “The Matrix” and the dark philosophy of “V for Vendetta” are now presenting the public with this seizure-inducing, rainbow-coated, hyper-active live-action-cartoon spectacle. The effects and the action scenes are stylish, colorful and dynamic. It is very beautiful and innovative. You cannot deny the energy which oozes out from the movie. But too much of a good thing becomes tiresome and terrible.

To get my point across, I want you to think back on “The Matrix.” The movie was ground-breaking. Specific scenes like Neo dodging the Agent’s bullets and Trinity leaping into the air, freezing then the camera angle moves around her: these scenes are practically singular and were not repeated in the movie. Now, Speed Racer, despite having cool and original cinematography and CG effects, the movie lack a certain amount of restraint. The movie-goers was continuously bombarded with the same colorful flashy scenes, without giving them time to recover let alone want more. I think the Wachowski’s tried to mask the weak plot and shallow character depth with as much CG effects and colors they can pump in to one movie.

Or maybe that was the whole point of the movie. Maybe it was intended that the script, the actors and the plot be as similar to the classic cartoon it is based on as possible. I don’t know really. What I do know is, I will endure a little bad screenplay in order to reach full visual satisfaction. The movie is what you would expect given the visionary directors which handled the project. The difference between “Speed Racer” and all those other mindless racing flicks, though? Never before has it all looked this good, felt this powerful, and been delivered at this high a pitch of visual ecstasy.

It gets a multi-colored 2.9 out of 5 or 58% infectious


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