Movie Review: Speed Racer

The Wachowski Bro's are back, making their first film since the Matrix Trilogy. This time they push the visual envelope even further with the big screen live action debut of Speed Racer. Obviously inspired by Anime, the brothers try to bring that same exact style to this film. However cool that may seem, it is at times, hard to watch, because of all the eye-candy pop-fizz flying on around screen. It is easy to wonder if anyone got some kind of euphoric seizure while watching Speed Racer. I do give them credit though, for making an absolutely new world, vision and style. One we haven't really seen before in movies.
As for the characters, they fit the movie well. You obviously cant go into this movie expecting serious, real world character arcs. The plot does run a little thin and could benefit from more substance. However, all the actors: John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, Emile Hirsch, that little kid, and even the chimpanzee do fit well in this movie. Now speaking of Emile Hirsch, many people thought that this was going to be a big launching pad for him. I don't think it went that way, but it didn't hurt his career either, since it only has grossed around $95 million worldwide so far. And it did have a budget of $120 million. Warner Brothers, the distributor is certainly happy they also did The Dark Knight. Speed Racer may eventually be one of those flicks that may assume a cult following and probably show at a midnight screening at the local art theater.
Anyways, back to the review. So watching this Anime movie with all its glitz and overabundance of style would be fine if it was short like a cartoon. However, this runs over 2 hours long. And there are certainly parts that could be cut that could make this film better.
Now this also brings up my other problem with this film: it doesn't have a clear target audience. At times it tries to be a family movie, with silly and cartoon like scenes. And at other times it tries to be a slick popcorn flick oriented towards teenage boys. That seems to be a mistake. And probably why it didn't really catch on in the theaters.
I actually, for the most part, did like this movie. The Wachowski Brothers took a risk on this movie, giving a totally different vision than we've seen before. And for that I commend them.
3 out of 5

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