DIRECTOR: The Wachowski Brothers
May contain spoiler!
Based on the late 1960’s Anime cartoon series of the same name, Speed Racer was The Wachowski Brothers attempt to bring the franchise to the big screen. After languishing in Production Hell for years, the adaptation took shape in this action packed CGI/cartoon/live-action hybrid.
The problem is despite having a simple but perfectly good plot and decent performances from its all star cast, Speed Racer is fundamentally confused as what it thinks that it is doing.
Clearly making the concious decision to use CGI effects that look light weight and animated, this was only one notch about Tron (1982) in it’s race scenes. And the film was directed to within an inch of its life, overly directed in fact by The Wachowskis, something which has become their curse since The Matrix (1999).
Overly self-indulgent, something all too common with the directors, the plot is ruined by these sub-standard effects, along with the confused tone. Clearly true to the feel of the source material, it was unclear whether this film was aimed at a child of family audience?
The race scenes, Wacky Races on speed, were good in every way except for the effects. The cars are so light-weight and animated that it is hard to take any of the movies tent-pole sequences seriously and as such, how do we take any of the film seriously?
It is a shame because like I have said, the plot was fine, the acting good and the visual style was ambitious, innovative, bright and colourful and complimented by one of Michael Giacchico’s better scores.
Overall, Speed Racer was more disappointing than anything else, a 135 minutes of potential squandered before our very eyes.