“Speed Racer Has Completely Changed the Equation!”May 14th, 2008 |
I kind of liked this Speed Racer movie (and yeah, I guess I only blog about movies now).
It’s not the greatest thing in the world or anything, but man… Crazy gleaming psychedelic candy visuals, jumpy-kicky Kung Fu cars, enough wipes to kill a thousand George Luci, one Christopher Hitchens lookalike, one ninja de-pantsing, Walter Sobczak dressed as Mario, RAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNN, muttonchops, and the triumphant drinking of milk all merged to form one colossal Voltron of ridiculous, and frankly, I giggled like stupid through the whole thing. Well, maybe not during the Spritle parts, but still. (Did that kid really do the “sneaky walk” at one point? I think the last time I saw the sneaky walk was when I was forced to animate it at CalArts…) The experience of seeing Speed Racer is sort of like being strapped to a Tilt-A-Whirl clamped to a runaway roller coaster in the center of a Skittles explosion while having a stroke,* which, let’s be honest here, is not your typical movie-going experience. And that’s probably why I wanted to go in the first place: The thing looked WEIRD. SILLY weird. I’ve never seen the TV show and the last two Matrices were kinda iffy, so “silly weird” is about all that could’ve drawn me in.
Unfortunately, it seems very few people felt that same compulsion to indulge in silliness last weekend, because Planet Earth has pretty soundly rejected Speed Racer. I mean, OUCH. That’s sort of breathtaking. But I’m not exactly sure why it was such a failure… I mean, it’s not as if the world public has any particular aversion to big-budget Hollywood silliness. Maybe it just looked too strange, you know? Speed Racer definitely isn’t the safe, comfortable, warm-blanket kind of silly that gets people lined up for National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. It’s some new, unfamiliar strain of silly. Possibly dangerous silly.
Or maybe it just came out too close to Iron Man. And Narnia. And Indy. It could be that people looked at the multiplex menu for May and figured Speed Racer was the one they could skip. And maybe it is the most skippable, I dunno… I personally liked Iron Man a lot more (it’s Robert Downey Jr. in a robot suit!), but I do sort of feel like Speed Racer might be more… important, somehow. Like twenty years from now, Iron Man will be remembered as one of the better mid-aught superhero movies, but Speed Racer will be seen as a bleeding-edge, one-of-a-kind, pop art freakout way ahead of its time.
Y’know, like Sharkboy and Lava Girl.
What do you guys think? Did anyone besides me, my wife, and Heidi MacDonald enjoy this movie? And what’s with all the sneery grave-dancing over the Wachowskis’ failure here? Is it just standard-issue “my suffocating personal insecurities can only be momentarily alleviated by posting snarky comments about others’ misfortune, preferably the same snarky comment five or six times because it didn’t appear immediately after I clicked the button the first time and god forbid the earth be denied my precious, indispensible brainfarts for even one single second” internet stuff? Or are people still angry about those Matrix sequels and love that these guys have finally imploded? Or- ah, I’ll shut up now.
If you have an especially high tolerance for silliness, don’t suffer from motion sickness and want to see something genuinely unique on the big screen, go see Speed Racer soon, before it’s dead and gone forever.
*We all know what this feels like.