Sunday, May 11

Fast and Not-Too-Furious

On a side note, I spent my pre-departure night with El and Jonas watching the Wachowski-directed Speed Racer movie. I wasn't that hot for this anime-to-film translation (not really a race fan) but kinda knew what I was getting myself into from a couple of reviews, but what the heck. The movie looked like it would be a blast to watch, at least visually. And what do you know... it was.

On the bright (or psychedelic, to be exact) side, Speed Racer is indeed eye candy overload. Pretty much every frame is exploding with bright bubblegum colors as the movie depicts the world as a futuristic, sunshine-bright pinball-machine in which full-contact acrobatic car racing is the biggest craze. It's amazing though it's easy to get lost in the twisting, faster-than-you-can-comprehend races (being seated in the very front row didn't help either). Since the movie is like, 80 percent all-CG and filmed in blue screen, it's kinda like Sky Captain except instead of all sepia it's like someone spilled a gumball machine's worth of colors on everything.

That all said, the movie's kinda long, it's very cheezy and a bit too family-friendly (no deaths like in the anime, save for one supposed death of a major character), but even through the family/friend bonding and long tirades and constant flashbacks and stream-of-mind cutaways for many characters, there's an earnest theme to the movie about being true to yourself, about love of family and how ability and talent and drive rising above the system despite all odds. Yeah, it sounds shmoozy but it actually works.

High points? Man, Christina Ricci is UBER-hot in this film (despite the movie being family fare) and every time she's onscreen you can't take your eyes off her. John Goodman and Susan Sarandon were also great as Speed's parents, and the little kid and the monkey were constant crack-ups.

Goofy and silly at times, often thrilling with lots of action on and off the racetrack but having a bit of an anticlimactic climax, Speed Racer was nevertheless surprisingly enjoyable and worth seeing. The movie's playing now in theaters all over the Metro so check it out.

Another aside- perhaps the coolest thing in the night was the surprise showing of a trailer for the new CG Star Wars: Clone Wars movie! Clearly based on Genndy Tartarovsky's CW cartoons, this new reveal of the battles fought between Star Wars Episode Two and Three looks like it's gonna kick as much arse as the CW series did. Definitely want to watch out for that. Heh.

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