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*** Official SPEED RACER Review Thread (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Aug 17, 2003
I saw this.

I'm gonna say this right now. When Birth of a Nation came out the president at the time said it was like "writing history with lighting". I think that applies to this movie. The Brothers are rewriting how you tell a story using film. I'm not gonna get into the plot because no.1 I don't know how to use spolier tags. The techinque in which this story is told is the most amazing part.

There were maybe 20 people at the midnight showing after the movie ended this is what I told my friends:

This movie is gonna bomb and bomb horribly. People are gonna hate it. If you are over the age of 30 your gonna want to rip your eyeballs out. However, that's because people aren't ready for a movie this kinetic. This is a movie for a generation of kids that have 500 tv stations to chosse, an 80 gig ipod and a cell phone all before they are 10. This is the future. This is is groundbreaking film-making but no one is ready for it.

In 20 years this is gonna be a cult favorite. This is this generation's Monster Squad. A movie that is way too ahead of it's time, no one sees and 20 odd years later everyone loves and wishes they had seen it in theathers. If you have a 4-year old in your family in 20 years he's gonna be sitting in a bar talking to his co-workers on how he used to watch this movie all the time on his dad's old blu-ray player and wishes he saw it in Imax.

This movie is great and everyone should see it. This is probably one of the most experimental hollywood film in years. This is a piece of art however it's a piece of art about a 60's cartoon. The brothers are re-writting filmmaking with every scene. Having said all that everyone will hate it. No one will get it. And the Wochowski brothers will be lucky if they get to direct Elektra 2. They're never working again. Enjoy!

Shad R

Supporting Actor
Oct 8, 2001
I really liked this movie. It is pure energy and It's FUN to watch! There are definately flaws, but man, when the racing starts look out! The final race is AWESOME filmaking. The film flows well and everything comes together nicely. This is the closest to a live action Anime you have ever seen, I promise. B+

Chuck Mayer

Senior HTF Member
Aug 6, 2001
Northern Virginia
Real Name
Chuck Mayer
I'm not going to answer it either. It's addressed in the film.
EDIT: This was a discussion point from the previous thread. Please ignore :)

I loved the movie. That's it. I loved it. As a note, I have ZERO attachment to the cartoon, having seen it maybe 3 or 4 times more than 25 years ago.

1) Geez, is Christina Ricci one of the sexiest actresses in the world or what? Loved her, loved her character.

2) I love how the W Brothers direct. As much in a PG film as ever. SO much energy, so much certainty. It's a green screen movie, but they make it work. Not by pretending it's not green-screen, but by embracing it.

3) Amazing eye-candy in the film. They know how to cast for looks, and it shows. And not just the girls (though wowza!). They get good performances out of everyone, even the silliest characters. I very much enjoyed Matthew Fox as well.

4) Wonderful score by Giacchino. Great costuming, great direction.

I know the bloom is of the rose for most folks regarding the W Brothers...but not for me. They are exceptional in their directorial choices, passing information in interesting and meaningful ways. The film is a treat to watch, and I found myself very emotionally invested in almost all aspects of it. Even the very first race is emotionally powerful. It's pop sensibilities again, but they make them feel rich and dramatic.

I had no expectations beyond seeing some dramatic camerawork and kinetic filmmaking. Color me very impressed with the entire experience.

Take care,

EDIT 2: Re-reviewed the film after an IMAX showing here.

Nelson Au

Senior HTF Member
Mar 16, 1999
I saw it, just got home.

I think it was really entertaining. It captures the cartoon in tone and content. I'm going to be mentioning spoilers below,

The basic plot of Rex Racer is there, though it's not exactly as was shown in the original cartoon, the basic idea is there. I really like how they decided to go with it and the way it was played out. I won't say more, but the Racer X storyline was very well done with a great performance from Matthew Fox. And the theme of corruption in the racing world was of course the main idea of this film as was some of the plots of the cartoon.

I was amused by so many of the elements in the cartoon showing up in the film. The homage to the Giant car. The use of Inspecter Detector as part of the plot was a fun addition, so integral to many plots of the cartoon. The bad guys as gangsters as in the cartoon was even there!

I agree the cast is well chosen. The early part of the film when Rex and Speed are driving home in the Mach 5 was pretty cool visually, reminded me of Pushing Daisies, that same kind of artificial world, fake blue sky and clouds! The architecture of buildings was the same kind of futuristic stylized design, midcentury modern with they cartoon-ish flare.

I read a review that the W Brother's attempts at using the actors faces moving past the screen as two people converse, or how the drivers spoke to each other, and some of the other wiping techniques from shot to shot was too advanced or too good for a film of this quality, and he hoped that such techniques could be put to better use on a far better film by more talented film makers. I have to disagree, it suited this film and it's hyper-realness.

I felt the only thing that was a bit off was how Speed in the cartoon was always honest and did the right thing, helped out the other racers. Here, he's seen bumping off other racers. Granted, they were bad and cheaters who were trying to bump him off the track, but he never did that, as far as I can recall in the cartoon. (I'm still re-watching the cartoon via the DVD's that I recently got. Haven't seen it since the 70's)

The racing sequences were very well done, though like the cartoon, over the top. I enjoyed the visual homages during the renegade race courses seen in the cartoon, from the winding moutain road of The Most Dangerous Race to the dessert racing sequence. I also noted the addition of drifting added to the racing. I wasn't too keen on the new Mach 6, and it's ability to spin and drift.

But I'm glad to see the Mach 5 used in the renegade race, drifitng all over the place and maybe over using the jump jacks!

I think I enjoyed this movie more then Iron Man, and I enjoyed that film too, but it's a different kind of film. Speed Racer visually had more cool stuff with a good story about family and integrety.

My theater's audio system, a new theater too, had some sound issues. There was no surrounds and the volume wasn't at the overly high settings. Can't wait to see the DVD.

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I will give credit to the Wachowski Brothers for pretty much pulling off an honest-to-goodness live-action anime with plenty of pizazz, nifty intermingling swipes and fades and other transitional devices. Plus the inclusion of the drifting head with dialogue shots so prevalent in the cartoons, just a lot of real nice attention to detail. The dual-focus system (keeping 2 people in focus even if one is in the foreground and the other is in the background) worked to mimic the cartoon look in some scenes, though it sometimes looked like they just spliced 2 heads into one shot to get that effect (then again, perhaps they film both people in the same frame and did figure out how to do the dual-focus for this film).

Not only were the Wachowski brothers slavish to the look of anime, but also the style of the storytelling in setting up the backstory in the first act, with fades into/out of the character's recollection of what happened in the past that impacted who they are in the present. Some of the bits worked well, other scenes looked odd. I wasn't all that entertained in the first act, but it got better in the middle act (most of it due to the racing, and some funny hand-to-hand combat), and then finds its stride in the final act. The setup in the first act might have gotten a little too convoluted for little ones to follow, but thankfully the rest of the plot is easy to follow, and the viewers are treated to a lot of razzle-dazzle racing sequences.

If you have any interest in Speed Racer, or live-action anime, or racing, or chimps, then you might enjoy most of this film, but it runs a little long at 135 minutes. Spritle and Chim-Chim both steal almost every scene they show up in, while the rest of the cast plays it straight for the most part, though Emile Hirsch just wasn't all that charismatic to me in the titular role.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B- (mainly for the sheer amount of cinematic ingenuity on display)

Phil Florian

Mar 10, 2001
Saw this last night in a sadly nearly empty theater (Iron Man, next door, still had a packed house). I wonder how this will do overall but I suspect after Iron Man's giant blitz last weekend along with its stellar reviews (compared to the anemic ones for Speed) we will see this movie fade away fairly quickly.

This is too bad because though maybe not as good as Iron Man, this is still a great time at the movies. From the opening music and colorform intro to the end of the credits where even simple words on screen are bursting with bits of color and motion this is a fun tribute to old school anime and Saturday morning cartoons.

The positives are long in this for me and even more for my wife who was the real SR fan. I liked it in passing and knew enough about it to be into it but she giggled far more often at references to the oringal show more often than me. The use of wipes as noted above was great. The overlapping characters was fantastic, especially when done along with flashbacks. The villain's monologue on "real race car driving" was fantastic as was the prep for the big race at the end. Too cool. "Cool" is the word for most of this movie. The cars, the car-fu, the sets, the costumes and the music were all cool and consistent throughout. There was never a moment that pulled me from the world the W Bro's created and that's a good thing.

The main bad guy Royalton was fantastic, even assuming the vocal stylings of the original series baddie (we get to hear original show dialogue in the credits that confirms this). I didn't think I would like Goodman as Pops but he was great throughout, especially during a couple very fun and light fight scenes. This was a worry of mine that the fight scenes would be more "Matrix" and counter to the fun of the show but while very nicely choreographed, they still contained the right level of slapstick and cool.

Car-fu will make or break this film for most. Cars bopped and jumped around in cartoonishly impossible ways (as they should). I loved it and the internal logic for how cars work on each other was great. The car designs were uniformly great throughout, too. I also loved how they fit the personality of their driver as well as how each driver's unique weaponry came out. The Snake team's stuff was by far the funniest.

I could go on and have but don't believe the ridiculously low Rotten Tomatoes Rating for this movie. Unlike Iron Man, which was made to appeal to a wider audience, Speed Racer was made for fans of the original show. If it brings in new viewers, bully for them, but really this was a unique, well crafted movie done with real style. It truly is style over substance and for this flick that is good enough for me. I hope more folks enjoy it before it goes away.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
I watched it at an IMAX theater this morning, I liked it, but not so sure how other adult males that grew up with it like me in the 1960s will feel about it.

Tony J Case

Senior HTF Member
Mar 25, 2002
My anime fan roots run way back, decades now. I loved Robotech and Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets when I was a kid, but hands down my first love belonged to one program. I remember round about 1972, and the first show I ever watched: Speed Racer. It caught me in my formative years and set me on the path to where I am today.

On the other hand, I absolutely loath the Matrix - or more accurately I loath the franchise that the Matrix has turned into and how it pretty much single handily destroyed Hollywood's ability to make an action movie. So when they announced that Larry and Andy Wachowski were gearing up to bring Speed to the big screen (a project that has been bouncing around Hollywood since the late eighties), I was filled with dread. Couple that with Hollywood's uncanny ability to take things I love from my youth and use their Evil Midas Touch and turn it into crap (Your honor, I would like to present Exhibit A: the 2007 remake of Knight Rider and Exhibit B: the 2007 remake of the Transformers), I was pretty much prepared to write off the whole damn project.

Imagine my shock when it turned out that I *LOVED* the movie.

Well, for starters, the cast was perfect - dead on representations of Pops, Trixie, Mom and so on. John "Jesus, I had to sleep with Rosanne for 7 years" Goodman as Pops did the Gruff and Loveable to a T, and Susan "SLUT!" Sarandon as mom was perfect. And in this dysfunctional decade we find ourselves in, it's refreshing to see a happy married couple that legitimately, honestly love each other without sniping, snarking or martial strife. The antics of Spridle and Chim-chim were lifted right from the series without being annoyingly over the top.

What else where there - well, I loved the visuals. The look of the film reminded me of a cross between Tron and the 1990 Dick Tracy movie with Warren Beatty. The neon of the track was eye-popping and the off track surroundings was quite stunning, very bold visual style and aggressive use of primary colors - the whole show looked quite literarily like a comic come to life.

The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino very clearly echoed the work of Noboyoshi Koshibe in the sixties. You could easily transplant the modern score into the old series without missing a beat. I also loved how they used the original Japanese theme in the credits.

If anything, Speed Racer is a shining example of getting adaptation right, respectful of the original source material and yet managing to put their own stamp on the proceedings. The little (and not so little) nods to the original series - a slightly scaled down Mammoth Car, Speed and Racer X stopping and having a fist fight with the bad guys in the middle of a race, Speed leaping out of the car and landing in The Pose from the opening credits and how the end credits of movie echoed the end credits from the show. Clearly the Wachowskis' did their homework and had a deep love of the original work. They even kept the "Yonk-yonk-younk" sound effect of the Mach V's autojacks.

Is it perfect? Not really - I still think the Mach 6 looks like crap, but at least the Mach 5 got LOADS of screen time. And the plot is pretty paper thin: An evil mega-conglomerate is fixing races and wants speed to race for them. Speed says no and Evil Conglomerate does their best to destroy Racer Motors. Speed fights back the only way he knows how - by whupping their ass on the racing circuits. But those little quibbles aside, this is a fantastic flick. I suspect that all the critics that came down on the movie don't get "it" - because I had a BLAST!

In fact, I think I'm almost prepared to forgive the Wachowski brothers for the Matrix after this. . . .

Sam Favate

Senior HTF Member
Feb 3, 2004
Real Name
Sam Favate
Saw this over the weekend, and thought it was a heck of a lot of fun. The eye-popping visuals are like nothing I've ever seen before, and I can't help but think that this will be the disc we pull out to show off our Blu-Ray players this fall. I agree with what someone wrote earlier that the movie will likely not do very well, and that audiences aren't quite ready for something like this. Of course, this is the summer movie season and "new and different" is not rewarded, "reliable" is.

Gary Seven

Grand Poo Pah
Senior HTF Member
Aug 15, 2003
Lake Worth, Florida
Real Name
I went in with low expectations and came out liking the movie quite a bit. This movie was made for fans of the show and those not familiar with the show may not like it. Nelson summed it up pretty well so I won't rehash. I look forward to the Blu Ray.

A pity it was panned so much as I understood what the W bros were trying to do and I think they did it pretty well. It was wise to put the movie in fantasy world as grounding the movie in reality would have lost the charm that was in the original cartoon and was for the most part, in the movie. I give it a big thumbs up and recommend it for all who are fans of the cartoon. For those who are not familiar with the cartoon, I cautiously recommend it since the movie is very much in the same vein as the cartoon.

troy evans

Jul 2, 2005
Speed Racer was flat out AWESOME! I loved Iron Man too, but, so far this is the summer movie to beat for me. I can't add to much to what's been said because you guys have covered every point I had. We need more movies like this. If critics all of the sudden decide what plays we're screwed. It's a shame to hear about the low box office turn out, but, not surprising. The studio will recover this on the backend through dvd and merchandising anyway, I'm sure. I hate to say it but, every once in awhile if they wan't to make a movie for the fans of something that's not as big as say Star Wars and it turns out this good, so be it. Hell, I've given so much of my money to Hollywood they owe me one every once in awhile. I know that's not profitable for them, but, at least I had some fun. Now, if that dvd can be out by august, damn straight.

Chris Brunner

Second Unit
May 9, 1999
I grew up in the 70's. I LOVED this movie. My 16 year old son LOVED it. My wife liked it a LOT more than she expected she would. I'm confused and bummed that this movie is not pulling better box office numbers.


Paul Arnette

Senior HTF Member
Jul 16, 2002
I saw this over Mother's Day weekend with the family, and I enjoyed it. My expectations were through the floor low, as my five-year-old wanted to see this far more than I.

That said, I don't know that I will ever feel compelled to watch it again though. I thought that, like most Wachowski Brother's films, it was too heavy on exposition, which weighed down the first act. After the racing started it was fun, but then it began to feel like a chore getting from one race to the next, and at least one race could've been cut out because I was way sick of seeing the Mach 5 flip over cars by the end, which despite this was still visually stunning.

I agree that this movie was for too small a demographic for a summer film. Fans of anime and Speed Racer should be happy with the film overall, but that's not really enough of an target audience is it? The film is too dense for a kid's movie and not gritty enough for teens and adults.

BTW, the actuals for this weekend are in, and Speed Racer only took in $18,561,337, which is less than What Happens in Vegas. What an utter financial failure this film turned into. Anyone think the Wachowski Brother's future projects (Ninja Assassin, etc.) are skating on some very thin ice?

Dennis Pagoulatos

Supporting Actor
Feb 3, 1999
Real Name
I will grace you all with my presence to give some much needed backup to Chuck. :D

My wife and I saw it, along with my almost 5 year old son (who forced us to take him)- and all of us loved it. My expectations were that it was going to be the biggest turd in history- having seen the trailers and thinking it was going to be a soulless CG mess, but it turned out to be the opposite of that. What makes this film work is the characters and story, which while simple, are extremely effectively constructed. It was funny, sometimes laugh out loud funny, and the CG and racing scenes were simply the icing on the cake.

The casting was perfect, the story was great, the movie was great.

For context, I'm too young to have seen the original cartoon- though I may have briefly seen re-runs as a young child, but none of them made much of an impression on me, since I didn't remember anything about the individual characters or the plots of the old show.


Patrick H.

Second Unit
Nov 23, 2004
I was finally sold on seeing this after watching the first 7 minutes online and following the debate here, and have just gotten back from the theater.

Yeah, it's easy to see why this is having a hard time finding an audience. Maybe it was a huge waste of money. And the Wachowski reputation is definitely going to take a hit...

However, it is an AWESOME movie.

It took a reel or so, but once I got past the initial reflex impression that I was watching another 'Spy Kids' sequel, I realized that I was actually appreciating the cartoon imagery, I was connecting with the characters and liking the performances, and that the writing was far more sophisticated and elegant than a typical kids' movie. By the final act, I was fully invested in this thing, and was truly satisfied with both the action AND the drama. Even within its crazy world, the actors play it for real and really sell their relationships. It's the first green-screen movie I've seen that has a heart to it.

It's also a sweet, fun, eye-popping ride that's truly meant for ANYBODY...the 10-year-old and the cynical-film-snob parts of my brain both found lots to enjoy. I'd rank it equal with 'Iron Man' for entertainment, but much higher for its curio factor. 'Iron Man' did right by familiar material, but this was a whole new animal. Whoever said this was this decade's 'Dick Tracy' was dead on...that's the only thing I can even distantly relate it to in terms of tone.

I'd say don't dismiss it without seeing it. You might be really surprised.


Senior HTF Member
Apr 20, 1999
Real Name
I finally saw the movie today.

Wow. Just wow. It was awesome.

Just into the first few minutes, I already had a smile on my face, and that smile continued throughout the whole movie. There were points when I had goosebumps, and these days, I'm desensitized by a lot of the action in movies.

I can't describe how spectacular the visuals are, everything from the colors to the transitions to the shot selection. It wasn't just pretty but served the movie and created a refreshing experience at the theater. This is how I always imagined an anime should be translated to live action. The Wachowski's did an excellent job, better than the Matrix Trilogy and Bound.

Just based on the visuals alone, I would easily recommend the movie. But ... there's so much more to this movie, it has a lot of heart. The family dynamics are some of the best I've seen in movies; yes, it has those scenes where family members have an emotional, sit-down talk but there are little moments here and there that work just as well.

I'd love to see some word of mouth to save this movie at the box office. It's just a really great movie for the entire family, and if you want just great summer action, it delivers that, as well.

Go see Speed Racer, go!!!


Cory S.

Supporting Actor
Sep 7, 2004
Easily, without a doubt, the best film by the W. Brothers. Just got back from seeing a DLP screening of it and I'm stunned as to why this film didn't catch on. I mean, I think I know the reason why but scratch that, this film is just impressive.

From the acting, the tone, the visuals, the direction, and the design, this thing is pure anime/pure cartoon of yesteryear. I loved every second of Speed Racer.

I can't wait for the Blu-Ray release of this film. I hope WB doesn't skim the consumer on the extras because I want to know how they put this beauty together...every aspect.

Just pure spectacle and joy.


Senior HTF Member
Oct 11, 2006
Real Name
Finally saw it on Thursday, and had a great time. It captured the spirit of the cartoon for me, and really took me back to my childhood. (Only without the small Monty Ward's tv set with snowy reception.) Racer X sounds so much like his animated counterpart, it's scary!

And wow, what a soundtrack! Between building on the music from the show, to the blending of the English and Japanese theme songs, I have got to get the CD!

I really can't fathom all the venom people have been spitting at this movie online. It would require less effort to politely ask for your money back then post epic-sized rants. ;)

Don't know if it's been mentioned elsewhere, but Target has an exclusive DVD mock documentary out for the movie about the Racer family. The cast is interviewed in character. The packaging fooled me for a moment, as I thought it was some "instant DVD" release of the film straight out of Spaceballs. ;)

Kirk Tsai

Nov 1, 2000
I had no previous encounter with Speed Racer at all, and I wasn't totally sure about this movie when I saw the trailers. I had a blast watching this film.

Like Thi, I was "wow"ed over pretty early on. In particular, there is a shot where the memory of Rex's car jumping through the air on the racetrack transforms into Speed's current jump toward the imaginary camera, and it was a moment of great thrill. I realize not all will enjoy the style of this film, but the visual intensity won me over.

Roger Allam was an awesome baddie.

Brad M

Second Unit
Aug 25, 2001
Just got back from a screening. The movie is a lot of fun. My 6 year stayed with it throughout without moving much.

If you can buy the boat scene in TOD after the jump out of the plane, there is nothing in this movie that stretches reality any further than that.

Indy is back! woohoo!

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