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Movie Review: SPEED RACER (PG) 0 Stars

May 11, 2008

SPEED RACER is bad. Shockingly, mind-bogglingly, appallingly bad. I don’t know where to begin. The script? It took me 20 minutes to figure out we were seeing flashbacks of Speed Racer’s childhood in school. And, honestly, who gives their child Speed as his legal birth name?  Probably the same kind of parents who would legally name their youngest child Spirtle.  When the script was clear, it was so full of inanities, I just sat there shaking my head. When actors are saddled with such lines as “Pancakes are love”, you know a movie’s in trouble. If you think that line is stupid, then wait until you hear Speed try to sweet talk Trixie…it’s even more stupid than that line! I’d say something about the plot, but I honestly don’t think there was one.

Then there were the visuals. I like colors that are vibrant and pop. My eyes were hurting within those same first fifteen minutes. They couldn’t tone down the colors a teensy bit? I guess the writers were hoping that the color scheme would take our minds off the stupidities in the script. Wrong-o! I also think I got carsick watching the racing sequences. Or should I say what we were allowed to see of the racing sequences. The photographers were too busy sending the sportscasters back and forth across the screen to describe the action. First rule of movie making: Don’t TELL, SHOW! Even when we were allowed to see the action, I had no idea what was happening. Don’t even get me started on how uncomfortable everyone in the cast looked in their costumes. Particularly Speed Racer’s little brother. Show me a 10 year old in this day and age that willingly wears a beanie, and I’ll show you a kid who gets beaten up a lot, as if being saddled with the name Spirtle wasn’t bad enough.

After an hour of this assault on my senses, and my intelligence, I just had to walk out. In all my years of going to the movies I have never walked out of a movie before. SPEED RACER now has the unwanted distinction of being the first. Before you accuse me of being unfair, and not understanding that this is based on a Japanese series that is considered a classic among fans, let me say that I do understand all of this, and I do understand the disciplines of the Japanese style. Still, that is NO excuse for delivering garbage such as this. Spend your money on IRON MAN instead, or wait until CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN opens next week. Maybe Aslan will save my sanity.

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8 comments

  1. I knew the Wachowski Brothers’ version of Speed Racer would fail to satisfy. Their Gen Y-like visual obsession with “Ooh look: shiny!” has fully crushed whatever sense of story the typical Coldwater Cyn Roundtable of jaded screenwriters could ever pearlmuster. Though the Matrix Bros profess to be Hollywood fanboys, I think true Speed Racer fans would rightfully better suspect that real fanboys would have avoided a cinematic Maha GoGo in favor of a full-length, true-to-the-Sixties-version animated feature version. I would have loved seeing Miyamoto take the helm on Speed Racer. In fact, any Japanese director would have done Speed Racer better justice. There are some things gaijin don’t understand, and Goh Mafune and his motivation are two of them. This is a sad weekend for Speed Racer fans everywhere, and I knew it was coming. Even Sam Raimi or Quentin Tarantino would have done this film better justice.

    And that’s saying something.

    Signed,
    Heather Ferreira


  2. Sam Raimi, absolutely! He’d have given this movie the soul and heart this movie so desperately lacks. Raimi would have also included an actual story! Thanks as always for sharing Heather!


  3. The Wachowski bros certainly put a lot of effort into making Speed Racer… the movie overall looked and felt like a cross between anime, a kaleidoscope, that Flintstones movie, a video game and the Dukes of Hazard


  4. You know, Patrick, I honestly don’t think movie makers set out to make a bad movie 9 times out of 10. I think the ones who come up with the ideas really believe they have something special. Unfortunately, something seems to happen between the idea and the execution that makes the whole thing fall apart. I can’t tell from your reply if you liked it or not. If you did, that’s great, I’m glad you had a positive response to it. Feel free to keep in touch!


  5. Snoozer says : I absolutely agree with this !


  6. Hi snoozer! Thanks for your quick and to the point reply!


  7. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Frond!!!!


  8. Thanks for the nice comment Frond. Always glad to greet a new reader. I honestly don’t think there was a point to SPEED RACER, except to make everyone physically ill.



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