Saturday, May 10, 2008

Speed Racer: In Review

The Wachowskis took Hollywood and the world by surprise with The Matrix, a visually stunning and wonderful film that allowed us to question our way of life. The sequels provided massive box-offices but poor reviews throughout. Even though they weren't behind the camera, V For Vendetta was a success for them. All these films brought us into a very dark universe where light tries to transcend to conquer evil. With Speed Racer, they bring us into a more colorful, bubble-gum world where their childhood heroes shine to bring evil to justice. Unfortunately, the result is a nightmare.
The film follows Speed, a young race car driver who is the hottest name in his sport. With his faithful family serving as his pit crew, they are drawn into the corporate world when a domineering conglomerate tries to recruit Speed by offering him the world, in a nutshell, or to pay the price. When Speed refuses, it's up to him, his family, his always dependable girlfriend Trixie and a mysterious fellow driver Racer X, to stop the corruption that has lived in race car driving for as long as we are allowed to remember.
In itself, the premise seems simple enough. Of course, since this film is based on a Japanese anime show, the Wachowskis tried to recreate that world by mixing all the colors of the world either with the scenery or the visual style of racing which is mind-blowing. The problem is, by creating this visual style, where colors fly all around all the time, it actually blows your mind that you don't feel like following the story, which can be troubling considering there are many players behind the scenes, and in the end you're not sure who is responsible for what. Emile Hirsch proved he was a good actor with Into the Wild. Susan Sarandon won an Oscar, Matthew Fox is the main man for Lost and Christina Ricci rarely disappoints. With a cast like this you could expect a well-acted film, but the Wachowskis clearly didn't have time to direct them because the performances are monotone, straightforward with no real surprises. Casting a monkey is a statistical no-no in films. Having an annoying younger brother hopped up on sugar won't be great either. Mix the two together = :-(
I saw a film earlier this year called Vantage Point. I expected to be disappointed because I wasn't crazy about the Rashomon rip-off style, but I found it surprisingly good throughout, even though I guessed the movie after the first 15 minutes. With this film, I wanted to like it because I loved the Matrix films and Vendetta, but I was upset with it. It tries too hard to harpoon us visually and it is easily predictable. Maybe next time, they'll spend a little more time with the script and the actors. For the Oscars, expect them to compete in the Visual category, but nothing more, I should expect.
Rating : 2/4
P.S.: 4/4 rating for Iron Man. Robert Downey, Jr. rules as an actor, Jon Favreau is a great actor's director, Gwyneth is sexier than ever (redhead) and I can't wait for the sequel. I would call this the second great film of the year (if you haven't seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, go right now!)

1 comment:

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