Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski :: USA :: 2008 :: 2h07
Young Speed grows up in a motoring family with but one wish: to become the best driver he can be. Up against the manipulative big capitalist interests in racing, Speed defends the desire to race and to win, fair and square. A solid moral of persistence, fair play and family values run through the film.
As the poster and the synopsis above suggests, Speed Racer is a children’s film. Ideally for the six to twelve year olds or the young at heart, of course. The story, as you understand, is simple enough: he wants to race and do the right thing, he does, he wins and gets the girl. Not really worth mentioning. But the story-telling fashion and visuals are quite different. The movie is a melange between real actors and a computer generated environment making the whole film resemble a video game rather than a movie. Consider that before going in, as two hours of video game watching can be a bit of a challenge. The great side using graphics is the flexibility: you will see an explosion of bright colours, picture collages and images morphing into all kinds of things conserving the comic book spirit.
Perhaps surprisingly, the visuals are confusing at times, with the excessive colour use and the spinning camera work obscuring the story line. In the first half of the movie, the past and the present are more or less shifted into each other and brushed over graphically. This tactic does not really work out too well, but considering the depth of the story-line, it does not really matter. Speed Racer is mostly a visual adventure.
In that colourful fantasy world, we are thrust into locations resembling 1950s-retro-futuristic cities with European architectural traces. That international flavour is kept throughout the movie with foreign faces and accents scattered around and you can even hear the international press commenting on the races in the background. This all brings in a more natural and dynamic image of the future. Do not hesitate to set your youngster in the cinema seat next to you for a visually creative 2 hour smarties-coloured popcorn movie.