STARRING: Emile Hirsch, Christina
Ricci, Matthew Fox, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Kick Gurry, Paulie Litt, Roger
Allam, Ji Hoon Jung, Melvil Poupaud, Richard Roundtree
2008, 129 Minutes, Directed by:
Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Based on the classic 1960s series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida that
later was retooled for North American audiences, the big-screen film will follow
the adventures of the young race car driver Speed in his quest for glory in his
thundering gadget-laden vehicle, Mach 5. The movie will feature other characters
from the show, including Speed's family and his mysterious archrival, Racer X.
While the Wachowskis manage to
work in digs on corporate America, Speed Racer is a far cry from its
philosophical action-packed predecessor The Matrix.
Based on the campy 1967 Japanese (anime) cartoon series by Tatsuo Yoshida,
Speed Racer delivers by taking audiences on an exhilarating adventure that
will please die-hard fans while thrilling new audiences.
Trailers and commercials
portray the computer graphics of Speed Racer as odd, unsettling, or
downright goofy. The film opens using a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors to
transport the audience into the surrealistic CG-enhanced world, particularly if
you’re watching in IMAX. Careful attention by both the make-up artists and the
cinematographer emphasize the big beautiful eyes of the heroes in Speed Racer,
clinching the anime look as well as the authenticity of the film.
The plot could have been lifted
straight from the TV series. Andy and Larry Wachowski went to great lengths to
please original Speed Racer fans. In addition to including the Racer X
storyline, the film makers added the humor of Spritle and his monkey pal Chim
Chim to recreate the feel of the TV series. Japanese pop star Rain adds
international appeal with his portrayal of rival racer Taejo Togokahn.
Speed Racer’s biggest
asset is its family appeal. In writing for a broader PG audience, the Wachowskis
pay attention to such small details as bubble escape pods that protect racers
when they crash. The themes of family loyalty and good triumphs over evil will
please parents and church groups.
Great casting, incredible set
design, and awesome CG. The Wachowski Brothers, creators of the
Matrix trilogy, take the chequered flag for their
adaptation of Speed Racer for the big screen.
- W. H. Bourne