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Speed Racer (2008)   rating

Review: written 2008

Primary coloured and neon lit

Speed Racer (2008)

Clearly, if the creators (The Wachowski brothers, directors of “The Matri”x) of the movie want you to remember anything about this movie - it's BRIGHT COLOURS.

This is movie making from the pages of a comic book, with the colours, acting and plot that this implies. When it started, it was so garish and hyperkinetic that I prepared myself for the worst... however, I have to admit that as I watched it, it actually did start to suck me in to this bizarre pseudo reality, and I began rooting for Speed Racer (That's his name, not just his title..).

Speed Racer is the car-obsessed son in the Racer family, his father the designer of racing cars. When he starts performing in major races, a huge corporate sponsor woos him, but amazingly, it turns out that the big corporation has money and not the best interests of the Racer Family at heart. A few chases later, via a mysterious ally, an uneasy alliance with a rival Japanese driver, and ninjas, we reach the good versus bad confrontation.

Nothing about this is real - everything is hyper-real in a calculated way - remember, this is adapted from a Japanese anime. Yet the actors, even in a wide-eyed cartoon style way, do gradually make you accept they might just be believable. Even if on the podium the winners drink a hyper white milk, rather than champagne.

The story linking the action scenes is actually passable, and is actually a welcome relief from the action scenes which could leave you woozy with an overdose of movement and primary colours which are pretty sickly after a while... just remember this is skewed young, even if the story does have a little depth for grown-ups too.

The gimmick here is the effects, and though the effect may not be to everyone's cup of tea, the effects are seamless. CGI is well suited to provide this sort of cartoonish hyper-reality.

The movie as a whole is definitely not a complete success, that's for sure. But neither is it a complete disaster... this is, at the very least, innovative and imaginative cinema. You won’t see another movie like Speed Racer this year, and the derision it received in some quarters smacks of close-mindedness. So, if you can stomach the nausea inducing frantic movement of bright pink and red and yellow, and want to see something a little different, then why not give it a shot?

Speed Racer (2008)

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