After months and months of trailers and stories about “Speed Racer” I was really looking forward to a great movie. Unfortunately I walked out of the theater the other night surprisingly disappointed.
“Speed Racer” stars Emile Hirsch, who plays Speed. We see him as a young boy who only cares about one thing: car racing. When he grows up he gets an offer to drive for the #1 racing team in the World Racing League. But he turns it down and so the evil owner of the team tries to destroy Speed and his family.
Of course, the movie is based of the cult TV cartoon on the 1960’s. I haven’t seen any of the cartoons so I can’t say if this story followed those old stories or not. I do know that most of the characters are from the TV show, including Speed’s family, his girlfriend Trixie (played by Christina Ricci) and the family pet – Chimp Chimp.
The Wachowski Brothers, who produced and directed the Matrix Trilogy, do an excellent job with the special effects. They create an amazing science fiction racing world of colors and action. As you might guess, most of the movie was shot with green screen.
But the story is pretty basic and even though the racing scenes are cool, there are just too many of them. The action actually gets “boring” after awhile.
“Speed Racer” is 134 minutes long. At least a half-hour could have been edited-out and the movie would have been better. In fact, most of the scenes involving Speed’s little brother, Spritle, and Chimp Chimp could have been left out. None of them are funny. In fact there are practically no laughs in the entire movie, strange for what is suppsed to be the first big Family Film of the summer.
The acting is o.k….but no one, even stars such as Susan Sarandon, John Goodman or Matthew Fox, really stands out.
“Speed Racer” is rated PG. There is the use of a three letter word several times that I didn’t expect. Younger kids, especially boys, will probably enjoy it, except since the movie is so long they’ll likely get bored.
On The Official Kid Critic Report Card, “Speed Racer” gets a C+. There’s no reason to race to the theater to see it. My suggestion: wait until it comes out in a drive-in near you in the summer as the second part of a double-feature with a new family film that’s really worth seeing.