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

Description: 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



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