Favorite New Films: Speed Racer

posted by The Joe

speed racer

Every once in a while a film is released that, while not a cinematic classic, knows exactly the type of movie it’s trying to be and because of that understanding, excels at being the best. I call this the “Torque Phenomenon,” and it’s exactly what the Wachowskis accomplish with their quasi-live-action update of Speed Racer.

On first glance, the film is all about the visuals. Filmmaker Werner Herzog once said that we are surrounded by worn-out images, and that we must create new ones. Make no mistake, Speed Racer has those new images in spades, presenting a vibrant visual flair that’s never before graced a movie screen. Even though you might not be able to process what you’re seeing, it’s still always riveting, goofy excitement.

But that’s not all – the movie backs up its style with surprisingly well-done substance. While the plot is by-the-numbers, the Wachowskis know you’ve seen this all before and zip by what could have easily dragged the film down to instead focus on building character. Speed Racer‘s message of family works so well because filled with characters worth caring about without ever feeling too dumbed down, a true rarity in this type of film these days.

Speed Racer probably wouldn’t survive well with nitpicking, but it never tries to be There Will Be Blood . . . it’s simply the best live-action kid’s film since Danny Boyle’s Millions, and that’s more than enough.

Speed Racer – Trailer

Saturday, May 10th, 2008 at 1:11 am