There is something about the Wachowski Brothers that film critics, and much of the general public, simply don't get. We have already seen how their brilliant Matrix sequels were panned by critics - largely on the grounds that these people simply didn't understand them - and now we're seeing the same thing with Speed Racer, which is being subjected to some of the most undeserved vitriol from critics that I have ever seen.
I loved this movie. It's not perfect, and it's not a work of genius like the Matrix trilogy was, but it's yet another example of how these two brothers attempt to push the boundaries of film-making. The editing - including the floating wipes and non-linear narrative - are top-notch. As one online reviewer put it, the Wachowskis have managed to transcend the boundaries of time and space in this movie. Not only have they achieved shots in which we are looking at two different things happening in two different places at the same time, they are also able to move us back and forward through time with effortless ease, and without disrupting the flow of the story.
If you're an idiot bent on hating Speed Racer no matter what, though, it's likely that the complex, visual style of storytelling on display here will befuddle you beyond redemption. I read with amazement, for example, the amount of people who found the opening sequence, during which we see scenes of one of Speed's races interspersed with his back-story told through flashbacks, completely bewildering. And yet the storytelling couldn't BE any clearer, in reality. I even shook my head in dismay as I read the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw claim that in the film, cars go through other cars "like ghosts". No one who understood the film (and thus was worthy of reviewing it) could have made such a simplistic, embarrassing assertion.
Anyway, this is in fact a brilliant film. Ignore all the reviewers' tropes about "over-reliance on special effects", "style over substance", "no characterisation or soul", etc. All of these criticisms miss the mark at a basic level. Watch it free of the shackles of prejudice and prepare to be blown away by a tour de force in imaginative, visual film-making. I certainly was.
Besides, the film has a chimp in a hard hat, riding a buggy while rockin' out to Freebird. Need I give it any higher an endorsement?