Sunday, 11 May 2008

Film Review: Speed Racer

So about a month ago I was invited to a free screening of this but didn't quite make it (mainly due to it starting at 10am on a Sunday morning and my plus one getting bumped). However, my boyfriend really wanted to see it so he got us tickets to see it at the Imax in Waterloo tonight. I can't say I was OVERLY enthused but he was paying, so what the hell.
It actually was pretty good. The Imax itself is bizarre; a self-aggrandising trailer introduces the film, banging on about how great the sound is, and how crisp the picture is, a little like I imagine Russell Brand rates himself as he's talking you into bed. Yeah the screen is bigger, but you get used to it in about 25 seconds.
So, Speed Racer= Mario Kart + Wacky Races. The script is pretty bad, but laughably so, and less cheesy than say, Independence Day. The special effects/ graphics were really good, like a Manga cartoon on acid. It reminded me a bit of The Cat in The Hat, which also got panned, but I really enjoyed at the time. I loved the sets too, I want to live in an orange house, and hang out with Christina Ricci. I thought Speed Racer kid was quite cute at first but then he verged a bit too much towards Tom Cruise/ Superman cheese territory so I went off him a bit. I love Christina Ricci, obviously, she has the best face ever, but she looked spookily similar to his mum (Susan Sarandon) in this. His little brother appeared to be played by Corey Feldman Stand by Me era/ Chunk from The Goonies. Wasn't too impressed with the chimpanzee character though; haven't they ever seen Monkey Business? Chimps belong in the jungle, not wearing pyjamas in films (mind you, they were cool pyjamas).
Plot holes: yes, but who cares? It was visually a smack in the face, but a good one. I can't stand racing/ car chases normally but the special effects were good enough to make it a visual treat. I wish the world was this colourful. What was the drinking milk thing about? Weird.
The baddie reminded me of David Mitchell playing the evil vicar in Mitchell & Webb... which made him more comical than bad. And what was with all the clockwork-orange style English baddies (with bad teeth naturally)? Racists! I also spotted Ferdy from This Life as one of the commentators. The Japanese guy was quite cute. In fact everyone was quite cool looking really, I liked the way it was all spliced together and the costumes were cool. It took me a while to twig that bloke from Lost, although obviously the 'twist' was blindingly obvious to all (good plastic surgery though- did he have his voice done too?)
The film was overlong and a bit hackneyed, and perhaps a bit violent for kids? But generally it was a LOT better than I expected it to be. Apparently it's either getting slated or raved about- well I fall somewhere in between.
Good at the Imax, probably less good as a dodgy bootleg. So yeah, give your money to The Man, just like this film tells you not to.

No comments: