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Speed Racer - Theatrical Review

Being a huge fan of the Wachowski brothers, and there work on The Matrix, I went into Speed Racer with high hopes. The brothers are better known for more mature movies like The Matrix trilogy and V for Vendetta. Could they possibly make the switch to a kid’s movie?

In my younger years I was quite the Speed Racer fan so, I went in to this film with a youngster’s frame of mind. This also seems to be the audience it was looking to grab. This is where I get a bit confused. At 2 hours and 15 minutes, it was too long for any child under the age of 7 or 8 to sit through. The agony of the runtime was comically vocalized by the kid behind me who shouted, “I’m bored, can we go home”?

The Wachowski brother’s are known to have constructed a convoluted plot or two in their time, and this was no exception. Building a plot base for a movie geared toward kids should take no longer then 15 minutes to develop. In this case it took most of the movie. It got so bad that even I had trouble caring about whatever was happening on the screen. The whole plot easily could have been simplified. There were huge chunks of this movie that should have been left on the cutting room floor.

The Wachowski brothers did bring their expert casting ability to this movie. The actors were perfect for there roles. Emile Hirsch and Nicholas Elia (young Speed) both looked exactly like Speed from the animated TV series. John Goodman plays the lovable yet stern “Pops” who is always there to defend his son. Sure he was typecast, but it’s what he does best. I was surprised by Christina Ricci’s performance as Trixie, she was the most out there choice for the role that role, and it paid off,. The rest of the characters followed suit but weren’t particularly notable.

It must be said that the CG animation and racing scenes were something to behold, and I’m sure they would look awesome on I:MAX. Unfortunately they just barely out weigh the over complicated plot, and almost silly long dialogue. This film would’ve been better had the writer/director been somebody like Andrew Stanton. The Wachowski brothers failed to bring the same genius to this movie that they did to there other works.

The bottom line is, if you’ve got kids in the 8-12 year old range, that like Speed Racer, then there is no doubt in my mind that they will get a kick out of this movie. Unfortunately if you’re an older fan like myself you’ll find the plot to be too long. The throwbacks and racing were awesome, but the story was meant more for a drama and less for an action-kids movie. Unless your kid is aching to see this wait and grab it when it shows up on DVD The curse of the Third Matrix strikes the Wachowski brothers again.

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Speed Racer - Theatrical Review

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