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Speed Racer has long been unfairly maligned. It’s an adaptation of an anime, itself an adaptation of a manga. So you might think that capturing the right vibe in a live-action adaptation would be difficult. Well you’d be right. However, the Wachowskis decided to take a stab at it and what they came up with was something totally unique. Some folks didn’t like that uniqueness, and that’s fine, but like most divisive properties, writing it off completely is the wrong approach.
Visually, Speed Racer is nearly unmatched. We once saw it described as “like having molten Skittles poured directly into your eyes.” And you know what? We take that as a compliment. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but for the most part it is so cohesive and consistent that it just works. It’s very bright and colorful and most importantly, FAST. The sense of speed they are able to convey is wild. You could never have achieved that by rooting this kind of thing in reality. Imagine if they had approached this like Ford v Ferrari… This heightened fantasy world allows for flying cars doing backflips in the air and landing without a scratch. It’s exactly the modern coat of paint Speed Racer needed.
We have very few problems with this movie, but the big one is the little brother and his monkey. They are the step-too-far that movies like this sometimes take. The one-thing-too-many which pulls us out of the movie we’re currently enjoying to do something just the wrong side of too silly. The other issues we have with the movie are simply that there are a couple actors who have been sorta Me Too’d in one way or another and they’re problematic. But separating art from the artist, they work in the movie. They’re just a little distracting if you scratch the surface a bit.
So we love Speed Racer! It’s big time fun and is immersive in a way we all need right now. Have you seen it? And if so, what do you think about it? Let us know over on Twitter! We need to know how big this secret Speed Racer army is! For now though, strap in for today’s FAST episode of So I’m Watching This Show!