Arts + Culture » Film + TV

Speed racer

by

comment

The kaleidoscopic acid-colour explosion of Speed Racer brings the thrill of spectacle back to action scenes. By diverging from standard action greys and blues, it makes physics and motion goofier and more vibrant. The Wachowski brothers turn the races into three-dimensional roller coaster courses of neon cars against starry night skies. These big visions of light and speed are like being a kid at the circus, when the world could sometimes look like a Hype Williams video.As so many new movies don't appear to have anybody directing them (lazy comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Baby Mama and Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, in particular, but a lack of style also drags down sections of Iron Man), the Wachowskis are dedicated to the impact of large-scale images. It's enough that one wantsto be convinced that it's servicing somethingmore interesting. Continuing the anti-authoritarian stance of their V for Vendettaand The Matrix (the most significant blockbuster of the past 15 years), the Wachowskis now move it to a story about a racecar-driver superstar tempted by corporate buyout. They've lived in Hollywood for too long. Why else assume their target kid audience cares about the ethics of celebrity? More interest would be held by focusing on Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) trying to be a normal kid, balancing his school and girlfriend (Christina Ricci) with his dreams and stardom. Instead, his desire to honour his dead brother's legacy and his family name cuts against the intended corniness. The live-action appropriation of its anime influence is often spectacular, but the script is missing the spirit to make it fun. Its conventional violent sensibility doesn't follow through on the levity that sets its action scenes apart.And there's the rub: At over two hours, Speed Racer really drags. Only the cars move fast.

Add a comment

Remember, it's entirely possible to disagree without spiralling into a thread of negativity and personal attacks. We have the right to remove (and you have the right to report) any comments that go against our policy.