Monday, May 12, 2008

No, Speed Racer, No

Holy Carp, Batman! ‘Speed Racer’ sucks. Who is this movie for? Too complex for kids; too painful for adults. Rationale behind this review:

1) It has several nonlinear narratives structures, flashbacks, Speed racing against the ghost car of his dead brother Rex, blah blah. Well, you know what? Having a complex structure and no plot is kind of a problem. The kid audience was saying, “Which one is Speed? The little kid?” And parents were frantically trying to explain, “Well, they’re both Speed, honey. The director is using a hackneyed device to show inner conflict and the passage of time.”

2) There are several swear words, including a choice word by Speed. Why is it more palatable to me for the bad guys to use foul language? I dunno…it just is.

3) The color is outrageous. It is sooo saturated. This is really the only way that I see any glimmer of success in this movie – the ambiguous era, crazy vivid wallpaper and futuristic Tokyo-bright world is pretty intoxicating. and painful. and seizure-inducing.

4) Yeah, it’s picky…but using a wipe transition of characters moving across the screen every single scene change gets old and confusing. It’s like being trapped in a pinball machine with things popping up everywhere and no relief in sight.

5) It just isn’t that much of a stretch to think of Christina Ricci as a manga character – she’s got that gigantic head, with huge eyes and shiny black hair. Scary.

6) Lastly, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 2 hours and 15 minutes?! That’s not a red scarf around Speed’s neck…he slit his own throat, praying for release from this hell.

Not good, man. Really, not good. ‘Underdog’ was better. (and that’s saying something.)


Jeff said...

I respectfully disagree. Frankly, I agree with a lot of what you said, but I see a most of it as positive instead of negative. The over-the-top use of colors holds true to the anime tradition of placing incredible importance on aesthetics. The overcomplication of a simple and hackneyed plot again fits with the style of the original show.

All that is excusable because the focus of the movie really is supposed to be on aesthetics. If you weren't on the edge of your seat during the race scenes, it's probably because you had already decided that you didn't like the movie before you entered the theatre. Speed Racer isn't like other movies. It is a unique blend of styles that is complimented by a HUGE cg budget to make the race scenes out of this world.

I guess it is an acquired taste, so I would encourage any of your readers with an eye for aesthetics to give it a chance.

Velma said...

Hmmm...your comments do give me pause, Jeff. I do agree that the movie is really about aesthetics. and I was blown away by the crazy color. I guess my review of it is more as a parent trying to explain it to my kids than as a standard review.