Speed Racer is older than I am, that is, the series ran for 52 episodes in the United States from 1967 -1968 the year I was born. Which means by the time I was 6 or 7 when I began to watch it, the show was already in re-runs. But man, did I love Speed Racer. Admittedly, I probably didn’t understand the story very much, but if I had overheard you say, “the car acrobatic team” or “snake oiler” I would have known that you were talking about my favorite show.
In 2008, the Wachoiski brothers released their version of the franchise, and admittedly I was one of the first few to see it and at the time I was really dissapointed. Being a huge fan of the Wachowski’s and their work with the Matrix, I was sure this was going to be an over the top thrill ride. Ever since then, I have not had the opportunity to watch the film again to give it a second chance. I had always picked the DVD up and stared at it, my inner child telling me to buy it and watch it just one more time.
“You hated that movie, didn’t you?” My wife says.
“Yea,” I put it back on the shelf.
Well, I wish it hadn’t taken me until the blu-ray was only $7 but I bought it to watch it one more time and I am sure glad that I did. Now, looking back – the Wachowski’s were ahead of their time! Speed Racer is exactly what it should be, an over the top thrill ride moving at the pace of a T-180!
First of all, despite the anime style and the green screen effects, the script and the actors are the heart of this film. If you took away the glam and glitter there would still be a good movie here with a lot of heart. Plus, Matthew Fox does an amazing job mimicking Peter Fernandez from the American voice overs.
I think for the critics who said the movie was too cartoony or too fake – it only proves how much the Wachowski’s stayed true to the original cartoon. Lots of other movies were already on the market shot in this style: Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 300 and Sin City to name a few. If they had tried to modernize it like the other franchises have done, I think they would have been equally criticized for “changing a classic.”
The Wachowski’s Speed Racer is an awesome movie and deserves a second chance from all of us.