Not everyone sees eye-to-eye. You might love something that’s reviled by most others. When we at PoP! feel like that, we make an argument In Defense Of…
Speed Racer – the Motion Picture
Around here, I’m known as the guy who hates stuff. It’s a title I’ve more or less earned for being “overly” critical of things. So I suppose any time I make an entry in the IDO column, it comes as a bit of a surprise. But seriously, for all the bellyaching folks did about this film when it came out, I just can’t even begin to fathom what they expected.
This. Is. Speed Racer.
If you ever watched the cartoon you expect a few things from the Racer family – over the top action, zany hijinks, and an unmatched irreverence for just about everything. This movie takes those concepts and runs with them. The races are fast-paced and crash-heavy. The gadgets are as impressive as they are implausible. And the comedy is laid on thick, never moreso than when Spridle and Chim Chim take to the screen. Their scenes play out almost like intermissions, but they’re an integral part of the viewing experience, if not an integral part of the plot.
Is the movie perfect? No, but damned close. My biggest complaint about the film would have to be the use of four wheel steering that seemed to be included simply to capture the then-modern trend of drifting in street racing. Not to mention… oh, no. Wait. That’s really the only flaw with this film.
The couple of fight scenes are choreographed amazingly and amusingly. The tracks and backdrops are bright and engaging. And the acting? It’s actually pretty fantastic all around, though it’s Matthew Fox’s Racer X that steals the show. To be honest, it was his portrayal of the stoic elder racer that sold me on this movie in the first place, and he didn’t disappoint throughout the movie. Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, and John Goodman all play their parts to perfection along a stellar supporting cast as well.
Just don’t go into this movie expecting Shakespeare, and you should enjoy yourself. If Speed’s daydreams in class don’t sell you right off the bat, though, prepare for a bumpy ride, as that single scene sets the tone of the film right from the start.
For my part, Speed Racer gets 5 out of 5 non-jas. It is, I believe, the most perfect interpretation of the cartoon into live action film possible.