Sunday, May 11, 2008

Speed Racer

Movie name: Speed Racer
Year of release: 2008
Director: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Paulie Litt, Rain, Roger Allam
Genre: Action, Family
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

5 years after the critical and public meltdown that were the two final installments of the Matrix trilogy, the Wachowski brothers return with a new film and surprisingly it's a family oriented film, based on the cartoon "Speed Racer". The film starts by introducing us to Speed, a young boy that has the gene of race car driving - his older brother is a race car driver also and his father builds the cars that they use. After a dramatic family event occurs, we see Speed as an adult running and being hailed as the great new talent of race car driving. He is proposed a contract by this evil corporate conglomerate, that upon his refusal sets out to destroy his career and his family's opportunities.
This is a film that has been shot almost 100% with green screen, which means the work with post-production has been extensive and the special effects and eye candy will be a major driving force. Whereas the visual side of the film is almost overwhelmingly beautiful (the colors, the framing of the shots), the film ends up faltering in it's premise to be a family film. The screenplay is far too complex at times for a child to understand. The premise promised a lot, and while visually the film is powerful and impressive, the screenplay, the acting in general make it an uneven experience. Christina Ricci ends up being the real sparkle in the midst of all that glitter - all the other actors are either playing too serious, or too over the top - she finds the beat for a film that is about only one thing - having fun! This film is almost pop-saturated art at it's best - see it for what it is, and experiment!