Current Residence: New Jersey
Favourite genre of music: Rock
Favourite style of art: Watercolor
MP3 player of choice: Ipod
I never had the good fortune of watching Speed Racer. This was my brother's era, not mine. Though I wanted to check it out anyway because of its visible beauty. Ever since "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", I have been waiting for another movie that would use an entire CGI environment and this looked simply amazing.
As I suspected, the film was pure eye candy. An acid trip of ultra-bright colors swirling around the silver screen. This was not always a good thing though. Sometimes the cartoon world didn't mesh that well with the real life personas, the effects were overdone and even a few scenes rival that of "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl". Even so, a perfect medium always formed whenever a fight and race took place.
The action really blew me away. Besides being visually stunning, it provided heart-pounding excitement with every turn of the wheel. Fast cars, explosions galore, gangs, ninjas and weapons! Oh, the weapons! Buzz saws, oil slicks, flamethrowers and much much more... I couldn't get enough of it! I doubt this will disappoint you.
The music was exceptional. No Matrix techno beats like in the trailer. Michael Giacchino composed an excellent score that I believe captured themes from the cartoon.
The plot was actually a bit more complex then I thought it was going to be. In fact, kids will be wondering whats going on in certain areas. In a nutshell, Speed Racer must restore the reputation of racing from a corporate scandal all the while uncovering the mysterious circumstances of his brother's death. The story mostly focuses on family and there were a lot of touching moments. Casting was great and I thought all of the actors did an excellent job of portraying their roles. I found Spritle & Chim-Chim to be especially funny!
I am reading that a lot of critics are panning the movie. It received 35% so far on Rotten Tomatoes and the consensus was "The Wachowski Brothers have overloaded Speed Racer with headache-inducing special effects, and neglected to develop a coherent storyline." First, I never got a headache while watching the movie. Second, yes the characters are one-dimensional, yes the plot isn't mind-blowing, yes the world looks silly and the races are insane, but last I remember ...IT'S BASED ON A CARTOON! It's suppose to be frivolous! As long as it made you feel like you were watching the cartoon in live-action, then the film was a success. If the critics can't see that, then I guess there missing the point.
Depending on your tastes, you could either love or hate the film. It is certainly not for everyone. Though if your a kid at heart, this movie is for you!
When I was driving out of the theater, another car smashed into my rear bumper. Coquencidence?
EDIT: A friend has pointed out to me that while the critic reviews are negative (35%), the audience rating is rather high (79%).
Also, here is an excellent blog that tries to answer why the critics are dismissing Speed Racer.