After the whole family (siblings and their children) all took Mom out for Mother’s Day brunch HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL! I decided to tag along and watch Speed Racer…. following a brief play-reading meeting. Going in, I had little expectation. I only vaguely remember seeing repeat episodes of the 60s Japanese animated import. I most remember the little brother and the chimp popping out of the trunk of the race car. And since this was another Wachowski brother production, I was expecting a visually dazzling display with little plot, or character development much like the Matrix trilogy of a few years ago.
Here we have the Racer family (Pops, Mom, Speed, his girl Trixie, little brother Spittle, mechanic Sparks, and cute chimp Chim-Chim). Speed is offered the opportunity to race for a huge racing team that is reknowned for dirty racing. In fact, those who do not take the opportunity usually end up regretting their decision. In order to reveal the racing cartel, Speed joins forces with the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox from Lost) and a Japanese racer (whose name I do not remember).
The stylized fighting with Ninjas is comical. Watching John Goodman twirl one above his head as if he were tossing pizza dough created a huge roar from the audience. The entire production design resembled a comic book come to life. The colors were all super exaggerated: the sky a bright, bright blue. The sets all appeared to be futuristic… especially the racetracks). The races were fun to watch with the gadget enhanced speedsters flipping, swerving, jumping over each other, etc. In short, it was a fun movie to LOOK at. One of the downsides of the movie is the length. It ran over 2 hours and 10 minutes which is just too long for a movie to run aimed at families and there was a lot of downtime that would probably be a distraction to younger children. But, if you are a fan of the computer generated wizardry of the Wachowski brothers then Speed Racer is fun to watch.
On a tangent, the Wachowski’s must know their Bond flicks. One of the racers is poisoned by a Ninja in a scene which is played identically to one in You Only Live Twice.