Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Speed Racer - Review

My two darling nephews, whom I had the task – I mean “pleasure” – of entertaining last weekend, do not get headaches easily. They insisted after our first viewing of Speed Racer, the latest from Matrix helmers the Wachowski bros., that we see it again. My head was still throbbing from the excess of high-definition, deep-focus, constantly-moving colours, so I, of course, had a problem with this. But I didn’t have a problem telling them my wife would LOVE to take them for a second time (hee hee).

Apparantly, I’m not the only one who had a tough time sitting through this whirling kaleidoscope of a movie. I swear the guy infront of me was having acid flashbacks. Perhaps they should rename it riEmile Hirsch and the Amazing Technicolour Drug Trip.

It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach…

Emile Hirsch plays Speed, the young racecar driver who lives for nothing else but the need for speed (and to avenge his dead brother who was killed by an evil corporation). Joining him are the likes of his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci), his Mom and Pops (John Goodman and Susan Sarandon), and many more. They live in a world where the rules of physics don’t seem to apply, and everything is so cartoony that the colours seem to jump off the screen at you.

…and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve…

For a movie that seems so fast-paced in trailers and TV spots, the plot is surprisingly draggy. Maybe that’s because it’s not much of a plot to begin with. Even though fans of the original 1960’s Speed Racer anime cartoon will race to this movie in droves, it doesn’t really offer much entertainment to the average movie goer. How much hyper-colourful speed racing can you take in one movie?

…and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and grey…

Not that the film doesn’t have its strong suits. The sound effects are well conceived and well mixed together, and I stand by my early prediction of a Sound Editing nomination come Oscar time. Even the visual effects, however nauseating, are clearly the product of much time and creativity. You have to be a talented artist to compose an image with so many vivid and contrasting colours.

…and purple and white and pink and orange and blue.

At least it’s better than Matrix Revolutions.

** out of ****

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