Speed Racer: Space Jam of the 21st Century

May 16, 2008 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

Love it, hate it, obsess over it: Speed Racer is the future. With its almost completely CGI-d content, the Wachowski brothers set the standard for this new world of live-action/animation; a school of thought that proudly advertises that fact that “You don’t have to actually film anything!”.

Emile Hirsch

Its fast cuts, cotton-candy visuals, and predictable plot makes Speed Racer embody a cinema that serves our over-stimulated generation. Thanks to so much advertising, our attention-spans have dwindled to 5-year old focus, which suits this film just fine. Instead of concentrating on the characters, I found myself tuning out to the dialogue and just staring at the screen’s gorgeously synthetic visuals and hyperstylized motifs…kind of like commercials!

Even still, I was on the edge of my seat. The way the graphics work are so intuitive that it’s almost a low-blow to our brains. Forget the comic-book standard of Eisner points, or the Eisenstein rules for montage and information: Speed Racer will hit every oracular sweet spot, and for that reason alone, it is worth $12.50 to see it on the big screen. Good or bad, this raises the bar for generic action filmmaking.

In a world where actors interact with green screens, cinematography is created in post, and story is secondary to image, Speed Racer presents a whole new problem of how to humanize films that were so clearly created by machines.

As much as I hate what this movie stands for, I fell for it. I fell for every second of it.

And the worst part? I think the creators knew I’d love it all along.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. neekaps  |  May 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I felt bored pretty much the whole time. The green-screening was so depersonalizing that I couldn’t get involved in the story.

    The camera pans from character to character to progress the story didn’t really move the plot forward, it confused it.

    If you want to spend 12.50 on this movie, take LCD with you.

  • 2. bettytron  |  May 18, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I seriously can’t stand anything the Wachowskis have done, and I have so little interest in this film it isn’t funny. I know there are filmmakers out there who want to give us more than shiny images and retarded child/monkey jokes, but this still depresses me. At least the box office numbers show that most people want SOMETHING better.

  • 3. marklashley  |  May 19, 2008 at 12:07 am

    I saw Speed Racer as part of an ill-advised project I’m working on where I’ll be seeing every summer movie. I feel pretty much the same way as you do about the whole dirty operation involved with CGI exercises like this, but the Wachowskis didn’t suck me in. I didn’t have a problem with the movie being an unabashed visual fantasy, but I find it really troubling when all the bells and whistles preclude a viewer from any emotional investment.

    These guys have proven they can create an atmosphere, but they just bore me to sleep.


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