Monday, May 12, 2008

Review: Speed Racer

I haven't kept my reservations and apprehensions towards the Speed Racer movie secret. Just a few posts ago I wrote that it looked a little too "Spy Kids" for me. Saw the movie on an opening day matinée and I have to admit, it's fantastic! Much better than Iron Man, which is the buzz movie at the moment. It was so good I had to see it again the very next day, and I'm sure they'll be at least another viewing before this ducks out of theaters. Very few films have surprised me like that.

I often complain about filmmakers taking cartoons/comics and changing them to the point where it doesn't resemble the original cartoon in any way shape or form (Transformers or the upcoming G.I. Joe for example.) This film is literally a translation of the cartoon to the screen, down to the tiniest detail. It's not the cartoon adapted into a real world. It's an original universe with races that seem born out of Mario Kart rather than Nascar.

The producers have been marketing this film completely wrong. They continuously show all these candy coated trailers of cars flying around, and while those scenes are INFINITELY better on screen (and in context) than they appear in the trailers, there's a lot more to this movie then CGI cars. I was shocked by the strong theme of family throughout this film, especially scenes between Speed, Rex, and their father Pops.

I have to warn you though, while this movie gets my highest recommendation (something I don't do too often on here) I don't think everyone will like this movie. But there's an easy test. The first 7 minutes of the film is online (embedded below.) These opening scenes capture the film perfectly. If you like what you see, you'll love the film.
Click here to watch.

UPDATE: I've been getting lots of e-mails asking, "Are you seriously recommending this movie?" The short answer: absolutely. The long answer: while this movie does have it's problems (especially a rather slow second act), the first act, the third act, and lots of great scenes peppered throughout the second act overcome all it's faults.


Anonymous said...

wow this movie is just getting trashed by critics and everyone that i know who went to see it! its been a while since mr. preksta has praised a summer blockbuster! by the way i tried to watch the transformers movie again on h.b.o. the other night and turned it off after 20 minutes...awful!

CP said...

Yes it is. Speed Racer is a risky recommendation because people seem to either love it or hate it. It might be one of those films you have to be in the "mood" for it. I'm a huge fan of the cartoon so I'm also a bit biased.

The movie is not without it's problems (especially in the middle), but the first 20 minutes, the last 20 minutes, and lots of great scenes peppered throughout the middle are solid stuff.

patrick said...

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

Reggie said...

One of my best friends is in that movie. I've been trying to get everyone to go see it, but everyone thinks it's bad. I'll have to let Scott know that there are at least a FEW people who liked it. :)