The Summer is here. I know it technically started with Iron Man, but I’m now officially home after finishing up my Junior year at college.
This morning I slept in, a rare treat, and hit up the local library in the afternoon. I didn’t realize how many documentaries they had there; they must have gotten them recently. I picked up Ken Burn’s War, Autism is a Word, and Spellbound. I also got The Ox-Bow Incident, which my film professor said my last script reminded him of, The Wind Shakes the Barley, and Manhattan. This all makes for an interesting assortment of films, both old and new.
On a whim, after leaving the library, I decided to check out Speed Racer at the local Regal. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, but Evan Derrick’s glowing review of the film, which I’d read the night before, instantly won me over. So here’s a quick review:
Short Review: Mario Kart meets Death Race 2000
Speed Racer, directed by the Wachowski brothers, is a visually stunning adaptation of the cartoon of the same name. The story follows the career of Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch), a young man who lives for the thrill of the race. He’s a natural at what he does and quickly attracts the attention a major corporation that wants to bank on his increasing talent.
The Wachowski’s don’t hesitate with the special effects in this film; they go all out, and I think this was a wise decision. I haven’t seen the original Speed Racer, but from what I hear it was an anime. With that in mind, the adaptation is the closest I’ve ever seen to a live-action anime. If they had tried to make it look realistic, I don’t think it would have worked at all; it would have come out looking horribly fake, rather than vibrant and in it’s own world.
I loved the visual transitions that were used throughout the film as well. They were very unique and didn’t cramp the pacing at all for me. You have to see it to believe it.
The story was pretty straightforward, which was expected, and had some great parallels between similar character arcs. The scenes with Spritle and the chimp seemed out of place at times and tossed in for a few quick laughs before jumping back to the story again. I thought those could have been either cut in places or trimmed down.
All in all, Speed Racer was a lot of fun. It’s definitely style over substance, but man is the style good.