With the Matrix creators, the Wachowski Brothers at the helm of an anime remake, you know that you’re going to be in for a good show. It took me a while to see Speed Racer, yet missing the Imax and watching it home probably doesn’t really do it justice.
Story-wise, I’m not sure how it really followed the anime original. I’m assumed it didn’t deviate too strongly and as a newcomer, it seemed fairly straightforward to me. Just a simple story of the capitalistic attitudes changing the nature of racing against the passion of a single racer out to do the only thing he really knows how to do. Fortunately this racing isn’t like any that you’ve seen before, including a combination between classic formula-car like racing, bumper cars and Wacky Wheels or Mario Kart.
I’m surprised that such a uniquely styled movie, Speed Racer had the number of Hollywood stars that it did, including the likes of Emile Hirsch (from Into the Wild), Oscar winning Susan Sarandon, Christinna Ricci (long gone from the days of the Addams Family) and Golden Globe winner, John Goodman. Although I doubt any of their performances will will any awards, they fit into their characters perfectly, and continue to make the anime film come to life.
The highlight for me is simply the intoxicating, super rich visuals – fast moving backgrounds, flash camera pans between drivers as they talk to each other in their cars, and the overly saturated colours that make this comic book almost too real. Combine this with the futuristic cars and the totally scripted, yet perfectly timed comic book twists and poky fight scenes, this movie easily delights the senses.
I sense that this movie will be less the hollywood classic, than a cult figure amongst a certain set of people. After all, I don’t think the hollywood vision is what the Wachoski brothers set out to do. When you look at it as an attempt to convert the over the top antics of Japanese animated movie, into a fusion of the possible and impossible, and still make it look and feel natural, I reckon they did a very good job.
TheKua.com Rating: 8.5 out of 10