Speed Racer

Speed Racer is the 2008 American film adaptation of the 1960s manga, specifically the English-dubbed anime where the issue of lip syncing was solved by making the characters talk as if they had smack injected into their eyeballs- also an apt descript

The posters for this film can barely even hint at the all-around trippiness of this film.

I don't actually have a joke for this picture. It's just so beautiful...

Honestly, just looking at a still frame from the racing sequences might send you into a seizure.

Just The Facts

  1. This is the first film to be both written and directed by those wascally Wachowski Bros. after The Matrix Trilogy, which we can all agree was at least 1/3 awesome, That's still more than we can say for some franchises...
  2. This film is trippy as fuck and uses more flashbacks in the first 15 minutes than Citizen Kane does in 2 hours, and it's STILL better than the Matrix sequels.
  3. It also bombed horribly at the summer box office, but mostly everyone forgot about that by the time Eddie Murphy gave sci-fi/comedy a second go.
  4. Best. Demo disc. EVER.

Why This Movie Rules

Racing!

Basically every shot of the film that isn't a close-up of an actor/primate's face uses some sort of CG in some part of the frame. This CG is used to an absurdly over-the-top cartoonish effect, particularly when taking the racing sequences into account. Heck, even the animators admit that they were basically designing the most extreme Hot Wheels cars and tracks that could possibly be conceived by the human brain aided by several years of design school.

It Actually Has a Heart to It!

This may surprise you, but the film isn't just flashy seizure-inducing visuals- it's also an emotional family sports drama! You can easily tell these scenes apart from the rest of the film because there's shadows that prevent the colors from blinding your eyes!

Kung-Fu!

If it's from the Wachowskis, then there's gotta be kickass martial arts fights.

Past Meets Future!

Like the show, the film is an awesome blend of 50s retro art deco and Jetsons-style future. And seriosuly, that's cool. We all know how awesome movies set in the 50s are, even with barely-mentioned racism and sexist gender roles (which proves just how awesome they really are- just look at Back to the Future). Plus we all love bright, happy sunshine-filled visions of the future with cool new technologies (see Back to the Future Part II). So just imagine how awesome he two are COMBINED!

Not to mention, the corporate boardroom scenes may as well be Mad Men with Go-Karts and flying cars.

(Photo too aweosme to comprehend-plus I'm too lazy to photoshop, which says a lot about my work ethic.)

Monkeys!

Scientifically proven fact: monkeys make every movie better. Just don't make them the STAR of the movie (want proof? Look at Spymate.)

On second thought, don't. Seriously, you'll regret it.

Why the Film Failed

Marketing

Really, this film is supposed to be marketed to ADD-addled children (which, let's be honest, is basically every American child who isn't Mormon). That's who the toys are being sold to. That's who the Wachowskis specifically made it for (well, that plus they wanted to win back Matrix fans). Yet Warner tried to have it both ways: TV spots were split toward appealing to both children/families and teenagers who must love ANYTHING those Matrix guys do! Well, looking at the opening weekend figures, you can see how that played out. Then again, there's also...

No A-Listers in the Cast

This may sound ridiculous now a year after the film's release where Warner Bros. had one of their biggest-ever successes with The Hangover, but back in those days starpower actually mattered! And when your closest thing to starpower is the writer/directors themselves, spending $120 million on a film adaptation of a popular (by anime standards) series from 4 decades ago that hardly anyone remembers looks downright retarted in hindsight. Speaking of which...

The Wachowskis Have Jack Shit Left in Terms of Goodwill

Do I really need to explain why?

The Film is Based on a 60s Anime Series Hardly Anyone Remembers

Yeah, I recall already mentioning that.

Audiences Just Didn't "Get" It

Now stay with me here, as this may get heatedly fanboyish. Let me address some of the complaints levelled by several audience members/critics:

"Oh, the effects are terrible. The film looks like a cartoon." No shit, Sherlock, it's based on one. In fact, the whole point of the visual style is to be a bright, shiny live-action cartoon. Is being faithful to your source material a crime? I sure as hell don't think so.

"Man, the actors are just so over-the-top." Well yeah, that's kinda the point. I thought you'd figure this out by now. It's not like the anime played it straight, either.

"The racing scenes suck, you can't follow what's going on." No, what sucks is your attention span. I watched the film in glorious IMAX and followed the entire film just fine, and my attention is probably no better than yours.

"Those flashbacks make the film more confusing. I don't get it!" Ditto last one.

"There are too many flashbacks!" Okay, I'll admit to that, but you know what? Get used to it. It's still way more efffective than devoting an hour of screentime to an origin story.

"Spritle and Chim-Chim are, like, SOOOOOO annoying!" Well, they were like that in the manga, too. So yeah, you're gonna be stuck with them. But you know what? The kids are gonna have trouble absorbing some of that corporate takedown stuff and family drama, so you can undertsand why the two are there to lighten things up (damn, isn't it just sad how low are expectations are for child audiences? I know, G-Force made $117.5 million domestic, but still).

"Christina Ricci is the worst actress ever!" You can't prove that, you soulless monster.