STUDIO: Warner Brothers
MSRP: $28.98
RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes
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The Pitch

Japanimation gets a big budget and blows it.

The Humans

Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox and Rain

The Nutshell

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) has spent a life dedicated to fast cars and early-onset ADHD. When his brother Rex died under dubious circumstances, it was up to Speed to save his family’s name. The young man grew into quite a speedster, as he zipped around the globe winning various Cups, titles and whatever else. Everything’s going great until a robust businessman and the mysterious Racer X enter his life. What is to become of the young man that can’t slow down?

Geof Darrow really needs to quiet designing shit for the Wachowski siblings.

The Lowdown

Speed Racer is an achievement how little it takes to piss off fandom. The Wachowskis took the heart of a crudely made fifty-two episodes of a mid-60s anime show and then they magnified it. It’s one thing to watch a girl use a heli-copter to give racing advice to her boyfriend in a cartoon. It takes on this weird visual disconnect when applied to the Lucasian world of CGI that the Wachowski have crafted for themselves. That concept of disconnection is something that plagued me throughout my viewings of the film. Hell, my theatrical experience was soured by it.

You don’t fuck with the Colbert.

film plays into the Wachowski Siblings’ attempt to merge Eastern entertainment firmly into the asscrack of the Western hemisphere. But, the overabundance of CGI and plush color to embrace the Asian origins of the show is jarring. You’re never able to buy into the fantasy of a situation, if everything is hyper-exposed to ridiculous levels. Some people are going to say that I’m reading way too much into this. But, it’s a film. You’re supposed to be able to accept and understand the narrative onscreen.

Act III: Speed enters the Stargate.

Anime is a steadfast industry and I respect its achievements. It’s just that Americans haven’t figured out how to make that shit translate to the big screen. Casshern was fun and all, but that claptrap isn’t going to sell in America. Four months after the film’s release, I take a look at whom the film impacted. Animation students, laidback filmgoers and small male children all seem to have dug the flick. Where did this film fail?

Speed Racer is
a film that could’ve been twenty-two minutes long. Racer X is really Speed’s brother, racing shouldn’t be corrupted and family matters more than all. Throw on the world’s catchiest theme song and you can cue the credits. Everything else is directed nuance and over-cooked fetish. But, what the fuck do I know? Adam West is my favorite Batman.

The Package

Speed Racer comes
DVD with a packed release. Well, the packed release is the second disc of the major special edition. What I reviewed was the 1-disc release that will probably be filling the Previously Viewed DVD bins at your local video store. The single disc only sports some special features that get Spritle to show off the world of Speed Racer to the kids watching at home. There’s also a handful of profiles of the racers.

The A/V Quality is amazing for standard definition. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is clean and shows a dynamic range across your Home Theater. The desert race was amazing, as the Viking racers had their various gadgets pushed to the back speakers while Speed’s action took place in the front. I love it when that environmental audio from the theatrical experience translates well to the Home Entertainment front. This is a fun release and I recommend it.

Three stills of perfection.

7.9 out of 10