The Underrated Thrills of Speed Racer

It was the summer of 2008 and blockbusters were still a strange breed in Hollywood. To put this in perspective, Shrek 2 was still in the top 5 of the highest grossing films ever made.

Iron Man hadn’t come out to set up the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man 3’s bad reputation still left a bad taste in our month, and 3D was not being shoved down our throats.  My friend Stevie and I sat down in a mostly empty theater, with buttery popcorn to our right and giant root beers to our left.

The lights went down and the rest is history.

A lot of this movie represents what I hate about modern films: such as, excessive action, nonsensical dialogue, and candy coated colors.

Luckily, Andy and Lana Wachowski took all those things crafted a spectacle that put Michael Bay and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim to shame. Each frame is filled with a child-like sense of wonder, which makes the candy coated frames seem so much more than “eye candy”.

There is substance in here too, like the pathos of consumerism, the pressure to be who you are, the loss of a loved one..but who cares. This is Speed Racer; he races on impossible tracks, his car defies physics, and everything that happens here is somehow amazing.

This film is NOT for everyone but if you are looking for something unique to say the least, see this film. In the summer of 2008, people weren’t ready for this.

The audiences shunned this film and it became a poster boy for big budget failures which to me is unfair. Speed Racer is ahead of it’s time and I feel like it it had come out two years later after the success of Avatar, people would’ve enjoyed the frenzied nature of the film.  Plus it would’ve been in 3D, which I’m still not a huge fan of, and would’ve hopefully made it’s budget back.

I know this film is far from high art and has higher ratings than most films I deem significant to film and to me, but this film made me feel things and see things I never felt before. That is what very few films do these days and Speed Racer accomplished that for me.

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