Speed Racer

My first memory of drawing anything was in the third grade, doodling the Mach 5 from Speed Racer. In fact, I can recall drawing the car over and over and over again. I was, apparently, quite the little fan.

Years later, when I was in college, I owned some of the episodes on VHS videotape.

I’ve always been a big fan of animation (and I still am), but I can’t figure out the appeal of Speed Racer for me — the plots were thin, the action not very exciting, the animation quality only so-so. And I truly detested Spritle and Chim Chim, even as a child.

It must’ve been the car. That glorious car with its ultra-sleek lines and the promise of speed and gadgets. A car that could leap obstacles or cut through them, that would protect you from bullets and other misfortunes. I don’t know that I loved the show so much as I loved its main star, the Mach 5.

That may not be completely true – Racer X was also pretty damn cool.

As for the film version out in theaters, I went to see it over the weekend, in magnificent IMAX no less. The reviews have been terrible, but you know what? I didn’t mind it. The film is clearly meant for kids, and it does a fine job in that regard. As long as you don’t go in expecting magic from the Wachowski Brothers, you should be okay.

Would I have liked to see a modern, more adult re-telling of the story? Sure, of course. Who wouldn’t want entertainment tuned to their sensibilities? But this other direction is okay too.

The truth is that super-cars are a dime a dozen now. Look at the James Bond films, the Knight Rider TV series, or even the Pursuit Special in Mad Max/The Road Warrior movies. As sad as it may be, the Mach V is star out of TV’s past, who’s heyday is remembered fondly, nostalgically, but whose chances of being able to sustain an entire film are slim. This is the era of the Interweb, and technology is an uncertain in film. People are too used to miracles. Even Ironman, which is also out in theaters, is more about Tony Stark than it is about the suit.

Do I recommend going out to spend $10 on Speed Racer? If you’ve got kids, I’d say yes. If you’re in it for the nostalgia, then I’d say maybe. It depends on your tolerance for kids’ movies. I had a good time, but I don’t know that I’d call myself typical.


~ by Samer on May 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “Speed Racer”

  1. its so depressing to see speed racer crash and burn like that..i really expected it to kick iron man off the charts..check out this crazy stand up comedy clip i found about crappy cars..wonder if speed would look just as hot riding one of these..funniest thing ive seen in months

  2. The Wachowski bros certainly put a lot of effort into making Speed Racer… but the movie overall looked and felt like a cross between anime, a kaleidoscope, that Flintstones movie, a video game and the Dukes of Hazard

  3. You know – that’s actually not a bad summation of the film.

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