Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive but charmless, 21 July 2008
This review is from: Speed Racer [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
My girlfriend dragged me into the cinema the other day to see this, so I was expecting some kind of shamefully high-budget Hollywood rubbish. What I saw was something completely different from anything else I ever have in this genre... but not particularly in a good way.

I have a bit of a soft spot for arty and unusual films... What I saw here, beneath the layers, was an 'art-house' feature just screaming to get out, and the contrast didn't feel comfortable at all. Amongst the action and special effects, Speed Racer contains a surprising amount of emotional depth, which (as far as I know) is hardly seen within this genre of film.

It tells the story of a young man named Speed Racer, who dreams of one day becoming a star in the extraordinary world of speed racing. The over-complicated plot line involves all the usual oh's and ah's, such as secret corporations hell-bent on bringing him down, mystery characters- never revealed until the end, a some-what touching love story, oh yea... and ninjas (?)

With the exception of the 2005 version of War Of The Worlds, the 2006 version of King Kong, and last year's Transformers, I'd say that Speed Racer contains some of the most brilliant CGI I've ever seen. As an audience, we are taken everywhere from sweeping deserts to beautiful futuristic cities. Some scenes are intriguingly cartoony, but don't worry- this is intentional. About an hour and a half through, when you're just starting to get slightly restless, the movie plummets towards a very flashy showdown of 'good vs. evil', making even the most emotionless audience members raise an eyebrow.

Now all the good stuff's out of the way, it's time for a moan: what I didn't like about Speed Racer, was A) The strange 'strictly-for-children' feel. (For example, there is a bit towards the end in which 2 characters are about to kiss, and the movie pauses so the audience can have a 'cooties warning' from Speed's younger brother.) This slightly put me off. B) The script sags in parts, and you find yourself starting to loose concentration. C) It's far too long.

So any way, even if you think you've seen all the Hollywood nonsense you can handle, try and squeeze in an evening for Speed Racer; though it slightly underwhelms expectations in most departments, it's somewhat worthy of being added to your DVD collection.
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