Precious Bodily Fluids

Speed Racer

Name's Racer. Speed Racer.

Name's Racer. Speed Racer.

A swirling, symphonic collage of primary colors based on its anime and manga roots is Speed Racer, a film that was unfairly pummeled by many (if not most) American critics for doing nothing other than trying to be an enjoyable piece of cinematic candy. Ideology is what it is, and though there are bound to be those who criticize Speed Racer‘s adherence to the family core and dedication to being the best they can be, this doesn’t seem to be the basis for most of the film’s naysayers. Not only that, but a fairly solid critique of corporate capitalism in favor of the lower class in all its potential might quell allegations of hyper-conservatism. With prolific use of flashback and their best visual style since the first Matrix, the Wachowski brothers created something here that was intended to overwhelm the visual senses, and too many viewers missed this point. It is an imagined world, one not so much seen through the eyes of someone doing ‘shrooms as someone wondering what it would be like to live in a world fathered by reality and mothered by a cartoon. It is true that the insertion of the redemption motif into the narrative seems a tad forced and schizophrenic to the film’s meaning. Apparently family is secondary to racing, Rex believes, and the film in the end rather agrees with him. (After all, the family name is, literally, “Racer,” and the main character’s given name “Speed.”) However, to “change racing” feels a pathetic reason to abandon one’s family and then consistently lie to them. Having met at least one man on race track paddocks who later died in an IndyCar (Greg Moore), this author has trouble buying the notion that the flurry of thrills coming from steering a motor vehicle around a track (or in Speed Racer‘s case, sometimes above it) holds a candle against active familial connection. Still, this aspect of the film is relatively small compared to the colors, shapes, and movements that justify its existence. This may not quite achieve the antithesis to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that we would like, but at least Speed Racer‘s substance can crack through the shell of its shiny gloss instead of drowning beneath it.

Foreshadow, in color

Foreshadow, in color

Manga

Manga

Biting into the family core

Biting into the family core

Stills just don't cut it

Stills just don't cut it

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This entry was published on September 25, 2009 at 7:18 am. It’s filed under 2000s Cinema, American film and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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