Speed Racer at the Boeing IMAX theatre and Pacific Place

What Is it? A boy (Speed Racer) who was born to race cars and go fast battles the forces of the evil corporate sponsors. Based on the 1967 Japanese Anime series – brought back in the 1990s.

How long is it? 135 minutes

At its Best: (9.5) Outstanding filmmaking, exciting action, over-the-top visual effects, brilliant colors (a truly one-of-a-kind visual experience), the best of what Speed Racer ever was, amplified for the big screen.  An amazing production that really is unlike anything you have ever seen.  It is campy without being ridiculous and it’s comic-booky without being too dumb.  The acting is impressive considering the type of movie this is, and the story is tight.  It has drama as well as action; solid character development and some good comic relief. Very enjoyable, without any holes.

At its Worst: (6) Speed Racer drags in some places and is very long – seemingly much longer than the 2hr 15min it is.  The driving sequences are fun, but they could have been more interesting and start to feel a little repetitive by the end.  The attempts at comic relief are too campy and too stupid to be truly funny and end up falling a little flat.  The character development is misplaced and takes away from the comic-book feeling of this film. Also, if you sit too close, it could give you a headache.  All in all, fun, but not great.

Who made it? Written and Directed by the very talented Wachowski Brothers (Larry and Andy; and apparently, not brother and sister as many rumors might have you believe), who are also responsible for the Matrix Trilogy and V for Vendetta. 

Who’s in it? Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild and the Girl Next Door), Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan, Sleepy Hollow), Matthew Fox (Lost, We are Marshall), John Goodman (Roseanne, The Big Lebowski), adn Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise, Bull Durham).

What’s like it? Tron (the colors, the action, the campiness), Dick Tracy (the cartoon color scheme and the characters).

What did Phil think: Well…glad you asked.  I loved Speed Racer.  Absolutely and completely.  I think that the Wachowski brothers are incredibly talented filmmakers who take great pains to fuss over the details and keep their movies very tight.  The look and feel of this film is unique and quite stunning.  The acting was solid at all times, and there is always a danger in a film like this that the acting and story are merely incidental to the action and the effects – not so in this case.  It completely worked for me.  I did see this movie with two others who (1) liked it and (2) liked it a lot.  Neither of my fellow movie goers liked it as much as I did, but they were both entertained; and, there was agreement that seeing it at the IMAX theatre was a great move. 

Community Film Forecast: Speed Racer @ Boeing IMAX and Pacific Place