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Speed Racer (Widescreen Edition) (2008)

A movie directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski

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Cartoons Come to Life

  • Jun 27, 2009
  • by
The first thing you notice when you start Speed Racer is the colors. A lot of movies go for a desaturated look, but Speed Racer ups all the colors. The world is a rainbow-bright mishmash of the 50's/60's and a 7-year-old's vision of the future that is half-CG. (Fun fact: the only physical sets in the movie were the Racers' house, the bad guy's offices, and the hotel.)

In fact, this seems to be literally live-action anime. If you've ever wondered what an anime or cartoon world would look like in the real world, this is it. Comic-bright colors, cars with gadgets straight from Wacky Races with the tracks taken straight from Hot Wheels toys and costume designs that could come from nothing but cartoons. Alternatively, the races are also like watching a live-action Mario Kart game.

It's not high-class entertainment, but it's not a horrible movie, either. Rated PG (but for some gesturing and strong swearing I'm surprised it's not PG-13) it's a just-for-fun movie that's good to watch in a group. The plot is basic (Speed races! Bad guys do bad things! Speed races more!) but it's easy to lose track of the smaller characters their stories.

There's not a lot to say about the actual content. The downside was that medium-minor characters are easy to forget (along with their personal story), but otherwise it's only going to disappoint if you're expecting something other than a cartoon-turned-movie. The story was basic, movie shiny, and the car gadgets drool-worthy (wouldn't you love to be able to jump over other cars in traffic?).

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More Speed Racer (2008) reviews
review by . January 22, 2011
I absolutely loathed this movie when I first saw it. In fact, I fell asleep at the end of it (although that's probably not because the movie was boring as much as it was the fact that it was midnight and I was dead tired). However, looking back on it it has kind of grown on me. Don't get me wrong, it's still a horrible movie, but there are many that are much worse. Like the critics consensus says, the Wachowski brothers have packed the movie with headache-inducing special effects and …
review by . February 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Movies whose imagery are clearly the combination of live-action with animation are rare, with maybe one major release every year. Cool World and Who Framed Roger Rabbit are two examples. For 2009, Speed Racer was the only live-action animated combo movie, and did not do that well at the theaters. The movie tries to combine several themes, and tries to come of as a serious movie. There is the overall racing theme of the movie, which of course drives the special effects. Then there is the requisite …
review by . November 15, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Go, Speed Racer, Go!   2. Corporations sometimes use dirty tactics to make profits   3. Go, Speed Racer, Go!       Pros:     1. Lots of high speed, colorful and mind boggling car races (cars spend more time in the air, sideways or upside down than can be considered normal)   2. Lots of car crashes (not harmful to humans on screen, and apparently not very …
About the reviewer

Ranked #552
I'm a student who breathes books. I also have an affinity for anything long and flow-y.      Outside of those, I'm a comics/graphic novel geek and enjoy drawing in various cartoon … more
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About this movie


An over-the-top, sensory overload experience determined to replicate its frantic, television-anime origins,Speed Raceris wild enough to induce a headache or wow a viewer with one dazzling effect after another. Adapted for the big screen as a live-action feature,Speed Raceris written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the sibling team behind the intensely satisfyingThe Matrixand its busier, less interesting sequels. Where the rich mythmaking ofThe Matrixwas entirely accessible, however,Speed Racer's overwhelming and gratuitously complicated story exposition is an enormous challenge to follow, let alone embrace. After a while, one simply surrenders to the unbroken din of dialogue concerning corporate chicanery, corruption in the sport of racing, and a value conflict between racing as a family business versus multinational cash cow. At the same time, the film's hyper-real equivalent of the oldSpeed Racercartoon's great whoosh of color, motion, and edgy production design--such as inventive uses of scene-changing wipes, bold framing, shifting perspectives--are more overbearing than fun.

Emile Hirsch plays Speed Racer, younger brother of a deceased racing legend, Rex, and son of car designer Pops (John Goodman). The latter invented Speed's Mach 5, and is singularly unimpressed by an offer from a giant conglomerate that would lock Speed into exclusive racing services. Speed opts instead for family loyalty, incurring the wrath of the conglomerate's ...

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DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
Runtime: 135 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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