Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movie Review - Speed Racer

I thought it was about time I put my money where my mouth was and see the film I predicted would be the second biggest movie of the summer, Speed Racer. I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. Granted, my hopes were not terribly high after seeing how poorly it was doing at the box office and reading folks blogging away about how bad it was, However, I'm pleased to report the reports of Speed Racer's crapiness have been greatly exaggerated, IMHO.

As is the blogging custom, a brief bit of personal history... I do recall occasionally watching the cartoon as a kid. It was not one of my faves. I actually remember very little of the series. However, it was an early gateway to anime and manga. While watching the movie, I had very little to compare to in terms of whether it was true to the original source material. But I will say the film had this energy throughout that felt very much like Saturday morning eating a big bowl of sugary cereal (my fave was Fruity Pebbles) and watching the toons.

Much has been said about the style and colors of the film, especially in the trailer. Indeed, you could say it looks like someone threw up some Fruity Pebbles all over the screen. I was skeptical myself. But like my initial thoughts about Cloverfield, once the movie started, I found myself completely immersed in the experience. The world that the Wachowskis created on screen is vibrant and detailed and yes at times overwhelming, but I give them credit for the achievement. The film is well over two hours, but I was never bored and I left the theater wanting more.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the cast and characters. Each was perfect in the role, with the one exception of Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer. It could have just been the fact that I've seen her in too many sexed-up roles, but I had difficulty believing her as the wholesome mother figure. At times, I couldn't help but think she was hitting on her own son which was a tad creepy. But others who have seen the movie did not feel the same, so it is probably just my experience (lucky me). All the other actors and actresses were great and I was especially impressed by Emile Hirsch in the lead role. Dare I say, it does appear that some young talent such as Shia LaBeouf have been forced down our collective throats recently, but Emile is the real deal. I see great things ahead for the kid.

But perhaps I should stay far away from any more predictions regarding Speed Racer. Now that I've seen the movie, I'm even more puzzled as to why it did not perform better. I suggest giving it a try before it disappears from screens. Else, it would make a great Blu-Ray DVD to show off your new HD TV. Perhaps the best compliment I can give the movie is that after it was over, I felt the need for more speed and satisfied the urge by playing some racing games on my Mac when I got home.

Cool beans!

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