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SPEED RACER, 2008
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SPEED RACER
Movie Review
Directed by Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci
Review by Eli Manning


SYNOPSIS:

Speed Racer is a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win The Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother, Rex Racer.

REVIEW:

Before I reviewed this film, I took a look at the Wachowski brothers previous films:

  • There first film was the Indy Mafia/Lesbian thriller 'Bound'. A great thrill ride about two recent female lovers trying to pull a fast one on a mob soldier. Solid film.

  • Then they moved to high budget/high concept world with the groundbreaking film 'The Matrix'. A film that I'm sure 99% of us have seen. Not only is The Matrix a great ride of entertainment, but it also carries a strong theme about the society of today. And it's probably a movie that will stand the test of time for years to come.

    So two films in, it looks like these brothers were headed for a landmark career.

  • Then the two The Matrix sequel came and went, angering fans of the first film more than entertaining them. They found some really interesting ways to make a film in those movies, but unfortunately the story seemed to take a back seat. In the 2nd film I was left wondering where our main character and hero Neo was, who left the film for 45 straight minutes while some underground civil war was taking place that I had no emotional attachment to.

    Now the Wachowski brothers are back with Speed Racer.

    I have to say that I was truly impressed with their new and original ways to shoot a film. There's a lot of landmark stuff in this film as the visuals are truly amazing. And something occurred to me half way through watching this movie (a sign that you're not into the story when you're thinking other things beside what's actually happening in the movie): Why is this film live action? Why didn't they just make an animated film?

    Like the new Star Wars films, the CGI/new technology ways of making films are the thing of the future and actors are just getting in the way. There is so much gadgetry going on, the actual human beings who are playing the actors are in the background and not the foreground like they've been in movies for the past 100 years.

    I've seen almost every single film come out of Hollywood this year, and there hasn't been a more disturbing moment this year than seeing the likes of Christina Ricci and Susan Sarandon trying to emulate the mannerisms of a cartoon character. What is the point? There are tons of animation films these days, we can feel emotional attachment to an animation character. Hell, my fondest character of 2007 was the mouse in Ratatouille! I thought he deserved an Oscar over Daniel Day-Lewis in There will be Blood. And I'm not kidding when I say that.

    Speed Racer, like The Matrix movies takes a shot the corporate world and how they always take down the independent companies (there's always a whole lot of irony when this theme comes up in a Hollywood studio marketing mad film!).

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    The central plot and theme of this film is that a business tycoon wants the main character, Speed Racer (yes, that's his name), to race for him. Speed Racer won't, so the tycoon sets out to destroy him.

    I first saw this plot in 'The Muppet Movie' when Kermit was trying to be brainwashed by the Hollywood suits. And now this is the 113th time I've seen it done. And still, 'The Muppet Movie' has done the best job.

    So great job Wachowski's in making a great looking film. But please, next time take another stab at the script and give us an original plot. And stop working with actors --- you really don't need to anymore.

    2 stars out of 4!center>

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