This movie was awesome.
I first qualify my statement by the following:
1. I was a childhood fan of the Speed Racer cartoon
2. I am a father now who went to see the film with my children
3. I was a fan of the Chicago Bulls during their dynasty years
What do the Chicago Bulls have to do with Speed Racer, you ask? Let me explain.
The Wachowski brothers did a few things really well in this film. For one, they casted and created the cinematic visual appropriately matching the original cartoon series. Pops, Speed, Trixie, Chim-Chim, and especially Racer-X (courtesy of ‘Lost’ actor Matthew Fox, aka Jack Shephard) were all brought to life in line with the original conception.
Another thing done well in this film is the integration of live action with special effects. This should be no surprise though. Since Jurassic Park first introduced living breathing dinosaurs on screen over a decade ago it would seem a natural for the creators of the Matrix trilogy to reasonably create fantasy looking car battles. Admittedly this may be one sticking point for viewers; we must be able to suspend our belief and accept that cars can jump, bump and climb. This should be as easy as accepting that Keanu Reaves can fly.
The most outstanding achievement of this film is what brings us back to the Chicago Bulls. The crown jewel in Speed Racer was the Wachowski’s ability to accurately portray BELIEF. Watching the exploits of ‘Speed’ while behind the wheel of his hot-rod would have been nothing without hearing the testimonials of the characters who watch him drive, or the look of the crowd as they watched with baited breath. Watching the audience hope, reminded me of watching Michael Jordan hit the winning bucket over Craig Elho crushing the Cleveland Cavs in 1989. Watching them watch him conveyed a sense of Destiny happening.
If the movie is not a box office smash, they surely will make it up in DVD sales.
Take the kids to see it in the theater.
One last thing of note: I appreciated the global sense of beauty in this movie. There was a really diverse mix of people featured in auxiliary roles. Check out the Japanese female lead, Racer-X’s companion, as well as the woman of apparent Ethiopian descent who starts one of the races. Nice.
Here’s a nice parting gift: The first 7 minutes of the film. Though it will likely do more harm than good, check it out for yourself…