Thursday, May 15, 2008

Speed Racer - The movie! An honest review.

How do you measure the success of a movie that is based on a cartoon series? In my opinion, you would preserve the essence of the cartoon, and add in the visual and aural stuff that current movie making technology allows. What you should end up with, by definition, is a movie version of the original cartoon.

Speed Racer therefore is a great movie. The visual onslaught is brilliant (literally!). The dialogue is cheesy. The racing is outrageously impossible. The fight scenes have been scrubbed of blood, and sprinkled with a few comical kicks to the teabags.

My kids loved it. The racing enthralled them; the fights made them laugh and cheer. They were not alone; the whole sub-adult audience echoed them. And for the grown ups who watched the TV series, we looked at each other meaningfully when we recognized the bits from the cartoon from which this movie had evolved.

A radio critic last week talked about realism. He stated that much of the racing stunts in Speed Racer would be physically impossible, and that the cars bear no resemblance to real race cars. He said it was just like in the movie 300; Spartans didn’t go into battle wearing only underpants. Speed Racer is a cartoon, not a lecture in physics! 300 was a portrayal of the legendary or even mythological viewpoint of the events at Thermopylae. We know Xerxes wasn’t nine feet tall! We know Spartans fought in phalanxes not ninja style! WE KNOW SPEED RACER ISN”T A RACING DOCUMENTARY!

If I am going to go and see an important historical drama, I would be upset with inaccuracy. Most of the time I go to movies to escape the real world. I go to fill my eyes, ears and mind with someone else’s temporary universe. I sit there like a twig in a river; I let go and let myself drift. I open my mind, and let the story teller tell the story. Go see Speed Racer, immerse yourself and let the movie entertain you for a couple of hours.

Thanks to Russell Cox for his insight as posted on

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