Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Speed Racer

Go. Speed. Go.

Where do you begin with a film like this, a film that from a distance looks like a combination of LSD covered skittles, dipped in sugar and candy floss, topped with hundreds and thousands.

Well, it’s probably a good idea to get it out of the way and just say I liked it, though I can see why a lot of people won’t and because of this I am very surprised it got made in the first place (Especially at the cost). A main-stream budget ($125mil +) with a very indy audience.

As a review, it’d be best to review each individual area on it’s own merits.

Special Effects – the main focus, as virtually the whole film is one big special effect. They are spectacular, though an acquired taste. If you’ve seen the trailers, then you’ll already know whether you’re into it or not. Everything is very big, bold, full of primary colours and intentionally cartoony.

All excellent and cutting edge stuff, with camera moves that swirl around the race and then spin for a close-up of the driver in one prolonged action. You’d be hard pressed to find better CGI in a film this year. But bare in mind you can’t judge the quality of these effects on realism as that’s not what their going for. The races and the backgrounds are all amazing in their bubble-gum way.

Characters/Actors – All the actors play their respective parts well, though again some of the performance may seem wooden and/or outlandish, but again it’s the imitation of a cartoon world, so you either get it or you don’t.

Saying that though, a lot of the film is about the Racer family and their values, and key emotional scenes between Speed and his parents are very well acted and not cartoony in the slightest.

Oh and Christina Ricci as Trixie is to die for…

Story – The story overall is relatively simple, I’m not going to ruin it for you but essentially it’s about racing, family values and corporate greed.

This is where the film weakens a bit, as for a film that is aimed at 10 year olds, there are some very long stretches of dialogue that focus on business, economics and corporations. These sections could have been trimmed and compared to the all out cartoony mayhem that occurs during the races, these parts really slam the breaks on and slow the story.

I didn’t mind these sections, but a CEO giving a 5 minute lecture about share prices in a “kids” film seems a bit out of place.

This does however build to a very tense climatic race, with the introduction as Speed walks out being my favourite part of the film.

Music – Complimenting the visuals, it’s crazy, exciting and uplifting, and gives the races an extra oomph.

Overall, I enjoyed the film minus a few odd steps with the economic lessons mid-way. It is definitely a marmite situation though, you’ll either love it or hate it. Check out the trailer, if you think “What the f***?!” when you see it, the films probably not for you, but if it intrigues you and you think it looks new and exciting, see it in the cinema!!


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