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Speed Racer
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Speed Racer More at IMDbPro »

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362 out of 534 people found the following review useful:

I Don't Know What Haters Were Expecting But It Did Exactly What It Set Out To Do

10/10
Author: moinsyyed from United Kingdom
3 May 2008

and that would be, entertain.

I can't describe how many times I thought 'whoah!' it's one of those moments that could only ever happen in cartoons or 'whoa!' that was anime level crazy! This film set out to create a literal live action adaptation of a lovable & cheesy retro cartoon anime. That's exactly what it did.

Let's start with the PG rating, this was appropriate not because this film is 'aimed' at kids (which it wasn't clearly, as box office disconnect showed) but because it's a 'family' film for all ages based on a cartoon that most of the older generation watched when they were kids, the source material barely even bordered a 12A and yet the film managed to in fact surpass it's source material in maturity.

Fans of anime will seriously lap this up despite what the recent comments have said. Not only has every care been taken to preserve elements of the source material but it also has those cool retro and also modern anime moments. Good and bad guys with crazy cartoon anime hairstyles, crazy over-the-top kung fu, elaborate motion line effects just like in mangas, crazy death defying races, cheesy as hell dialogue which fits perfectly in context! Performances were quite impressive given it's a predominantly 'kids' PG film and that they were filming against green screen.

I also commend the Wachowski's use of such a strong colour palette.They didn't tone it down or diverge from the theme and each scene had a contextual wash of colour.Serious or more intimate moments had darker shadows while remaining colourfully vibrant. They were bold and not shy about what this film was going to look like.

To the haters again i say ,'what exactly where you expecting? The Matrix with cars?, people getting there throats slit?, symbolic commentary on capitalism,corruption, religion or the new world order? Go into this movie expecting high adrenaline scenes and all campy fun that only a 60's anime adaptation can provide, but don't just to go and watch it just to 'see what the fuss is about' until you actually understand what the source material was like. That way the movie will exceed your expectations.

I don't have complete praise for this movie however, in that towards the end of the film they got a little overboard with the editing and i was really let down by the final antagonist type drivers. Speed seemed to have a harder time in the casa cristo race in the film where the other drivers were far more menacing. It seemed like 'Cannonball Taylor', 'Gray Ghost' and especially the bad ass, white haired yakuza driver (for musha motors by the way) were just a flash gone by and Speed just beat them without any problems at all. Let's hope they make more of a presence in any semblance of an extended/directors cut

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259 out of 393 people found the following review useful:

First Place Winner

9/10
Author: ingloriousbasterds from United States
4 May 2008

I must admit that I know, or knew rather, very little about the story or history of Speed Racer- and his TV series - and maybe that is why I enjoyed this movie so much. Although, this is still a different type of situation where one who was a big fan of the shows might be seriously critical of every little detail of the turned movie. I don't believe anyone who considers themselves truly knowledgeable about Tatsuo Yoshida's work can say that this was not represented well on the big screen. I'm now intrigued to go back and check out some episodes of Speed Racer.

That aside, as far as it being a movie and a work of art, I would give this movie high marks in both categories. For it being a movie, it was nice to see something so different as far as the approach to making it go. Also, having such an incredible cast makes it all the more intriguing. I don't see anyone else having portrayed any of these characters any better than the cast that was hired to do so.

On an artistic level, it is extremely hard to think of any other movie that comes close to being in the same league. I did not see The Matrix, but I would say that anyone who liked Sin City for its cinematography and graphic elements, would love Speed Racer. The use of bright photography that's added behind a green screen makes for a far more dramatic effect.

Take the artistic elements of this movie, and put it together with the amazing cast (both looks and talent) and throw it together with a very different but coherent plot, and you've got yourself an extremely enjoyable movie that is definitely worth seeing. And seeing at the theater no less! My hats off to The Wachowski Brothers, and the rest of the cast and crew for putting together something different for a change.

GO...

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268 out of 426 people found the following review useful:

Artistic Perfection

10/10
Author: ctg0724 from United States
9 May 2008

Everyone around me told me it was going to be terrible. Early reviews said that it was nothing special. With these planted doubts, I still went to see it in IMax. As of right now, it is the greatest experience I have ever had in a movie theater.

This movie was pure fun. The Wachowskis truly know how to take risks. They just took their art and ran with it. All the actors were terrific. I especially gives props to the actor who played the youngest Racer brother. Honestly, I thought that boy would sink the film but after seeing it, Speed Racer would not have been half as fun without him and the monkey.

This is most visually stunning film to date, with a climax that continues to climb and climb. I wanted to jump out of my chair and cheer for Speed at almost everything. Granted, the film was predictable, but I didn't care. I still held my breath at all the moments, asking myself if Speed would be able to pull it off. I've never smiled through a movie as much as I have with this one in a long time.

Huge 10/10 for Speed Racer and a big thank you to everyone involved in making this masterpiece. My kids will be watching this film. If there is a Speed Racer 2, I am there.

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221 out of 333 people found the following review useful:

A good family movie

8/10
Author: nicib32 from United States
6 May 2008

I have to say, it seems that those who hated it were obviously not doing their homework beforehand to know that SR is not supposed to be a thought-provoking film like The Matrix. It is based on a wonderfully simple cartoon with a simple message for kids. If anyone knows anything about cult fans, they want films to reflect the original medium as much as possible. Thus, if you go to a children's movie based on a child-friendly anime, expect it to be such and not some mind-blowing,challenging film. Especially these days, we need films like this one to take our minds off the usual violence and such found in so many other so-called family movies. Take it as it is, a great family flick for ALL ages to simply enjoy.

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183 out of 280 people found the following review useful:

This Movie Was EPIC!

8/10
Author: sxeclown from United States
10 May 2008

Above everything else, this movie is a visual feast that stays true to the cartoon. I think it is really unfortunate that so many critics are complaining about the visuals in this movie, because I think that they are truly fantastic. I can safely say that I have never seen another movie like this one, and I feel that so many movies are going to try to do what this movie did. A lot of the visuals really are beautiful bursts of color similar to what you find on the busy streets of Tokyo, and this movie is aware of that. It is like they took Shibuya and made it a hundred times as big and colorful. Only someone who has been to Tokyo will know exactly what the Wachowskis were going for in this film. After all, it is based on a Japanese TV show.

The acting is somewhat campy, but can also turn that gear into more serious acting. It can be funny, and then be heartwarming. Lots of the racing sequences are very over the top, but the movie knows it and does it well. The tracks are very creative, and I can only imagine how fun they were to design. If real racing was this exciting, I would watch it all the time. I can understand why this film made the race tracks so crazy, because who would really want to see two hours of regular race tracks with cars going around and around? The sound was also really impressive in this film. The sounds of the race cars were explosive and loud and if you see this movie in a good theater, it will make it that much better. The music is also very fitting and tasteful. Probably the only time I will hear "Freebird" without being annoyed.

Also the politics in this movie were excellent as well. I feel above all the message of this movie is that money corrupts art. This movie portrays Speed as more of an artist than a race car driver. A big corporation wants to sponsor Speed, but Speed knows that corporations are evil and are only looking to make more money. He is very dedicated to his craft, and does not want to sell out. Speed knows that corporations corrupt art, and so does this movie. You will not see one piece of product placement in this whole film.

So overall this movie is very self-aware. It wants to entertain, and it does exactly that. It wants to be different, and it does exactly that. Don't listen to those wimpy critics that didn't like this film because it gave them a headache. Many people said the same thing about Moulin Rogue, and that movie is fantastic too. Critics who complained about there being too much color should have brought a pacifier with them to the movies, because only babies would complain about how this film looks. Race to your theater to see it now.

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148 out of 229 people found the following review useful:

Pure popcorn fun for the whole family. Great job, Andy & Larry.

8/10
Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
10 May 2008

Well, what you've got here is a case of audience/critic disagreement. Obviously, this movie will get bashed by the critics because of its cartoonish and campy mood, but that's just it: the world shown on screen by the Wachowski brothers is marvelous. The animation is perfect for the atmosphere they're trying to create. Don't go in expecting Matrix-esquire effects, because there aren't any bullet time scenes. The effects used are so fitting for this movie because they're almost cartoonish and the movie doesn't take itself too seriously.

The film, an adaptation of the long running Japanese anime, revolves around natural racing phenomenon Speed (the wonderful Emile Hirsch) and his family, which somehow includes John Goodman and Susan Sarandon (whoever pulled off this casting deserves some kind of award). Oh yeah, and the casting directors managed to get Matthew Fox and Christina Ricci as well. What really stood out in this area is that everyone involved really understood the characters and the world that Speed Racer is supposed to display. It's not supposed to be overly serious, nor is it supposed to be that realistic either. With the warm performances of Hirsch, Goodman, and Ricci, you get transported into another world (isn't that the point of movies anyway?). Matthew Fox is also great as the mysterious Racer X, whose role is sort of misconstrued by the previews. He showed a different side that I didn't think he could on 'Lost'.

The visual effects, as I've said before, aren't going to be Matrix-esquire, but there are a few "whoa" factor sequences that had my jaw dropping. I also need to warn you that, if you can't take fast camera movements or rapid shots, be careful. It's not as bad as Cloverfield or Blair Witch (because the quickness only occurs in the race sequences), but I'd still try to grab a seat in the middle or back of the theater. The film is visually stunning outside of the races themselves as well. The buildings, the cities, the homes, the cars themselves...all beautiful.

The Wachowski brothers get an A+ for keeping the movie in the spirit of the show as much as they could (they really did a great job), however the film has a major flaw: a runtime of just under 2 and a half hours. That's a BIG no no for a movie that is obviously marketed towards kids, unless it has the names "Star Wars" or "Harry Potter" on it. The film also has a sensual scene or two featuring Ricci and Hirsch, not to mention occasional language.

My advice: don't listen to the critics, see this movie for the fact that it's pure entertainment for the audience, and it will take you away to a visually stunning world for a couple hours. Definitely an enjoyable movie for the entire family.

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141 out of 238 people found the following review useful:

An Interesting Transformation from Animation to Live Action!

8/10
Author: dcpunkrocka36 (delacruzjord@gmail.com) from Salt Lake City, Utah
3 May 2008

Personally I have never been a fan of the original animated series, and I wasn't sure what to expect of this movie. After seeing the trailers I thought it looked kind of cheesy and over-done. After watching this I realized that the cheesy graphics, work to it's own advantage. This movie really caught a good look at Live action Speed Racer without losing the characteristics of the Cartoon. I didn't think even the Wachowski brothers could pull this off, but as usual, they did.

As far as the actors performances, Emile Hirsch did exceptional, but my eye was mostly on the brilliant performances by John Goodman, and new comer Paul Litt who plays Spritle, Speed's mischievous little brother. I recommend this for the family, don't wait for the DVD get to the theaters while this stunning cinematography is on the big screen!

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99 out of 172 people found the following review useful:

Go Speed Racer

9/10
Author: jon.h.ochiai (jochiai@socal.rr.com) from Los Angeles, CA
21 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching Speed Racer convincingly win a spectacular race nearly besting his brother Rex's course record is the mysteriously charismatic Racer X (handsome brooding Matthew Fox). Racer X's beautiful companion tells him, "He's going to be great." With restrained pride Racer X says, "No, he's going to be the best…" "Speed Racer" was my favorite cartoon growing up as a kid. Speed Racer was the brave hero. But the truly cool hero was Racer X. Racer X was the shadowy masked racer, who was Speed's rival and amazing equal. However, Racer X seemed more Speed's protector than arch-rival. There is more to the Speed and Racer X dynamic and mythology that will go unsaid, although fans of this cult classic already know.

My bud Lauren invited me to a screening of the Wachowski Brothers' live action adaptation "Speed Racer". I gladly accepted, and told Lauren of the "Speed Racer" mythos. As both writers and directors, the Wachowski Brothers brilliantly bring to life the world of "Speed Racer". "Speed Racer" has a visually distinctive style all its own. The vibrant colors and breathtaking CGI racing sequences enthrall with velocity and emotion. There is even homage to a scene from the animated series as Speed's Mach 5 careens over a mountain road during a treacherous cross continent race, and plunges to almost certain doom. But no worries here. Set in what looks like the near future, "Speed Racer" is visual spectacle and precision-- surprisingly ground in its story of love and family. Emile Hirsch plays the intense Speed Racer, son of Pops and Mom Racer (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon). Speed's passion is being the best auto racer, and destined for greatness. In a touching scene of a mother's pride Mom confesses to Speed, "I am so impossibly proud of you…"

Speed lives in the shadow of his late brother Rex Racer. Growing up, Rex was Speed's hero, and the greatest racer there ever was. However, after a vehement disagreement Pops disowns Rex. Rex gains fame and infamy on the racing circuit until his tragic death in the cross continent race—The Crucible. The Racer family grieved the loss of the elder son. Does Speed race to honor Rex or does he race for himself?

Now years later, Speed is offered a lucrative contract to race for Mr. Royalton (pompous Nicholas Elia) and his Royalton Industries. Speed rejects the offer choosing to remain with Pops Racer (Goodman) and the family business. Consequently, Royalton vows to destroy Speed. The determined Inspector Detector (solid Nicholas Elia) and Racer X enroll Speed to help them expose Royalton's international racing conspiracy. Against Pops' wishes Speed enters The Crucible along with teammates: Taejo Togokhan (Rain) and the mysterious Racer X. Speed is well aware that The Crucible claimed the life of his brother Rex. However, there is something hauntingly familiar about Racer X. For Speed: Is this merely coincidence?

The Wachowski Brothers' narrative moves at a nearly blinding pace. Cleary, they have a reverence for the original cartoon. They even provide slick martial arts action, which "Speed Racer" had way back when. Racer X (Fox) powerfully dispatches ninja attackers. And Rain as Taejo displays amazing martial arts grace and style. The performances throughout "Speed Racer" are strong. Emile Hirsch captures the wonder and conflict of a young hero emerging into his own. Christina Ricci as Speed's girlfriend Trixie is smart and spirited. John Goodman and Susan Sarandon are incredible. Pops and Mom Racer may have been intended as caricatures; however, Goodman and Sarandon breathe humanity and a parent's love in their roles. They subtly reflect their pride in Speed, and painful regret for Rex. Matthew Fox is powerful and commanding as Racer X. Fox brings a nobility and grace to this mysterious hero, who embodies a Zen-like spirit to racing.

"Speed Racer" is spectacular fun with a surprisingly compelling story. Amidst the flashy eye candy and masterful CGI, "Speed Racer" is about the power of love, family, and the inherent greatness in all people. Take a chance on "Speed Racer".

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56 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

Most exciting movie I've seen in awhile!

9/10
Author: ronnijean from L.A. area
4 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My husband and I went to a screening yesterday. I honestly didn't think I was going to be super impressed or anything, and it'd just be a cute movie - but I was really blown away by it!!

It's rated PG and appropriate for all ages. As a warning though, it's has really fast cuts and lots of colorful visuals, especially during the racing scenes, so little kids, like 4 and under (not to mention a few adults not used to the fast-pace) might be a little overwhelmed at first.

One of the things that I liked best about this film was that it was very innocent and stuck to its morals. It's one of those movies that you'd feel good taking your kids too, knowing that it's actually going to reinforce values instead of questioning them. However, it never got too serious and had the perfect amount of zany comedy. It was campy and fun.

I see a LOT of movies and typically get bored halfway through, feeling like it's the same thing over and over. But I had such a good time during Speed Racer! Sure I knew how the ending would turn out, but I ENJOYED getting to the ending. I was never bored, and very visually stimulated. There's a good balance between jokes for kids and jokes for adults, and the adult jokes never bordered on inappropriate (as some recent kid movies have), so that you wouldn't be able to explain to the kids why you laughed at a certain part.

All in all, this is a great film for kids, this is a great film for adults, this is a great film for teens! The only people I would not recommend this film to would be those who don't think they can handle very fast-paced cutting, but it's not any worse than the majority of video games nowadays, so if you can handle those, you'll LOVE Speed Racer!!

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28 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

I felt like I was on Speed while watching this movie

5/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
11 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Speed Racer, blockbuster number 2 for the summer, based off the popular animated 60's cartoon, the first real "Japanimation" series, we have the now live action film. What was supposed to also be a family film, this film just flops on. First I'll start on the positives: bright colors, exciting effects, and it felt like a cartoon, which is what it meant to bring. However, this movie was overly long, if it's supposed to be for kids, so don't make it into a 2 hour and 15 minute film. Like one of the ending scenes where Speed has all these flash backs of earlier scenes, we didn't need it. Some of the dialog, it was decent but again, could have been shortened. Also, I know that CGI is a thing that will never die, but it's not my cup of tea, because it just takes away something special. But the story does deliver on it's fast paced race scenes.

Speed Racer has lived a fast paced life on the road, trying to live up to his "deceased" brother's world of racing. But all these sponsors are coming after him, but he wishes to stay in the family with his dad, mom, little brother, and Tricksey, his girlfriend. With the help of a mysterious Racer X, Speed wishes to beat the sponsors who threw things in his face and just make money off of him, and can just prove that he is the number one racer in the world.

Speed Racer, for a summer blockbuster, it's a decent enough film, however it does have it's flaws here and there. Now the one thing I was impressed with is that not only did they make it feel like a cartoon, but it was over all pretty faithful the the original cartoon series, so you get a real feel of the original story. I just think it was a little too long and the CGI was a little too much, it was almost like why did they even need the actors? Everything was probably a green screen, so what's the point in making it with human actors? But this is a fun movie for the kids with the bright colors, it just could have been shorter, because the kids will probably loose attention with the film. But for the 10+ year old's, they'll definitely get into it.

5/10

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