Jungle
Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Movie
Studio(s): 
In Theatres: 
May 09, 2008
Grade:
B+
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 15 Minutes

Fast cars, dangerous tracks, and seemingly impossible odds are what await Speed Racer in his move from your television to the big screen. Can Speed claim that first place trophy or does he fall behind the rest of the pack.  Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is the middle child of the famous independently owned Racer family. Knowing only one thing, speed and fast cars, Speed Racer strives to become the best car driver out there. Multiple challenges await him, including Racer X (Matthew Fox), as he attempts to prove that he is the best and win the coveted Grand Prix and destroy the empire of the corrupted Royalton (Roger Allam), head of Royalton Industries.

The visuals are absolutely stunning. The colors are vibrant and everything stands out, whether it’s during the middle of a race or looking out into the city. Naturally I assumed that this style of cinematography wouldn’t work but amazingly the Wachowski brothers pull it off. Granted at some moments appear too washed out and you feel that the characters are placed on top of the background rather than in it. The race scenes are fantastic, putting you on the end of your seat until you see the winner cross the finish line.  It’s as if I were watching a live action version of Mario Kart with all the variety of drivers and tracks, filled with dangers and some drivers even having weapons of their own. The acting was average with most of the dialogue consisting of one liners and sentimental monologues. Honestly, I think every character had to give their two cents at some point in the film and at the end, I don’t need a recap off all what was said, it’s more annoying than not. I heard it once; I don’t need to hear it a second time with flashbacks.

Hirsch does fairly well as Speed and Christina Ricci is there to just look pretty as Speed’s girlfriend and spotter, Trixie. Allam reminded me of his V for Vendetta speeches where preached about society and such; definitely one of his stronger skills as an actor.

Most things are kept in line with the original cartoon. You have the famous Mach 5 along with most of its cool gadgets including the Auto Jacks for some good old car jumping. There are a few scenes where you see Speed in his traditional blue polo and red handkerchief. For the most part, it was enjoyable, especially the racing scenes. Kids will definitely fall in love with this film as well as some adults. This is one of those films where seeing it in IMAX is probably worth the extra price.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook