Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Defending Speed Racer



I know, I know. This is a sports blog, not a film discussion forum. But my love for auto racing was cemented at a young age when I became a huge fan of the old Speed Racer cartoons. The cartoons were early Japanese anime, but I had no idea about that. All I knew was that it had tons of cool cars --full of gadgets--, lots of racing, and lots of bad guys. The names of the bad guys were inspired (or corny if you're a grouch): Cruncher Block, Inspector Detector, Snake Oiler, Captain Terror, Ace Ducey, etc.
Upon review as an adult, I was surprised by how bad the orginal 60's cartoons were. Terrible animation, hackneyed plots, etc. But as a young kid, I just loved the racing.

So now there's a major Speed Racer motion picture out. Directed and created by the Wachkowski Brothers of The Matrix fame, no less. I've seen the film with my 8 and 6 year old kids and they loved it! But then again, I loved it too. In my view it was a perfect update with numerous homages to the orginal cartoons. Goofy over-the-top animation, great diaologue, etc. The intense colors and visuals are perfect for this kind of fantasy racing adventure.

But the critics aren't happy. They whine that there isn't serious plot or character development. Typical review here. Hilarious. The reviewer complains that there isn't enough "substance." Hello!?! It is SPEED RACER for God's sake. This isn't Kurosawa or Herzog or even Coppola. This is a high-tech update of a anime fantasy --directed at kids and families. The critics are missing the whole point --or they just forgot how to relax.

The movie's plot is predictable and obvious, the characters cliche, and the scenes overwhelmingly bright. Just as the Wachkowskis intended! The movie is a blast and the racing scenes intense and fun. There's even a anti-corporate message. Spoiler alert: This film is not realistic. Danica Patrick can learn nothing about racing by watching it. But if you're looking for a fun kids movie, this one has everything.

1 comment:

Cricket said...

I totally agree with your stance. Most of the people that hate Speed Racer hasn't even seen it. They're just basing it on the previews. Even though it was a bit long, the movie had heart and the cg was well done.