Movie Review: Speed Racer
Thu May 8 2008
Bring the whole family to this dizzying live-action/CGI remake of the 1960’s cartoon. Writer-directors the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix trilogy) have said they set out to make a movie their young nieces and nephews could enjoy. The result is a hypervivid, frantically paced tale of cool cars and family drama with a satisfying moral about cheating—that it’s not just wrong, but it spoils all the fun.
The film is incredibly faithful to the original cartoon—down to the actors’ anime-like facial expressions and Racer X’s robotic voice. In fact, despite the vertigo-inducing action sequences and psychedelic production design (is that wallpaper available to the public?), I was a little bored. With the exception of one bloody beating that had me itching to put a Band-Aid on the victim’s split lip, this is kid stuff all the way.
Speed Racer’s all-star lineup includes Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon and Matthew Fox. But the most charismatic performance belongs to Paulie Litt, who plays Speed’s younger brother Spritle and who was just 11 at the time of production. His crazy antics, and his chimpanzee sidekick, will have kids clamoring to see this movie again and again.