Friday, May 09, 2008

The TV Guide: No, Speed Racer, No

OY! I finally made it back home to LA after repeated attempts to fly out from NYC earlier this week, only to find SoCal colder and drearier than the NYC climate I just left. What gives? It's not even June yet and the June Gloom appears to have set in already. Boo. That being said, it's nice to be home again ... even if my apartment is in post-unpacking shambles.

Upon my arrival at around 10PM last night, I immediately went home, dropped off my stuff and then hit the road to meet Darion for a midnight screening of Speed Racer in IMAX (which is why blogging is slow-going today). We were both very excited for the movie and we wanted to make sure to see it on the IMAX big screen. It is my very sad duty to report that the movie is extremely disappointing ... to the point that I wouldn't even recommend it to friends:

Now, I don't really consider myself a huge Speed Racer fan but I'm pretty familiar with the cartoon and generally enjoyed watching the 'toon for its over-the-top, emotive drama and the semi-ridiculous storylines. I was hoping that the big screen, live adaptation of the cartoon would really take advantage of all the fun of the cartoon in addition to being an eye-popping wonder. Sadly, that isn't the case. The movie starts out very haphazardly, jumping from the past to the present, without any explanation ... it takes some time to even figure out what is going on -- and it gets worse from there. The storyline is SO weighed down by confusing plotlines and there is way too much talking for the movie to be all that engaging. THIS review of the movie sums up what I'm trying to convey perfectly:

Why is a film aimed at kindergarteners so dense with indigestible plotting? Why does it race past the two-hour mark? And given that the movie is itself a merchandising juggernaut (tie-ins range from McDonald's to Lego) and produced by Time Warner, isn't the rage-against-the-machine message disingenuous? And while the racing sequences themselves are as dazzling as a fit of epilepsy, why is there no sense of jeopardy? Is it because digitized back-flipping cars have no sense of physicality and are therefore no more thrilling to watch than any other random collection of gigabytes? As for the actors, they all do what they can -- as Speed's girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) is best served by her nearly-3D features -- but they're working against the undertow of both the all-green-screen environment and some alarming shifts in tone, from slapstick to camp to drama. It's no wonder that by the end the storytelling gears -- and the patience of most movie-goers -- are stripped altogether.

The movie is entirely empty and not even the dazzling special effects can save it. The last straw for me was when Speed Racer uttered the line, "Keep your shit off my track". C'mon! That line came just when I thought the movie couldn't disappoint me any further.

Truth be told, I wouldn't listen to anyone urging me not to see this movie for myself ... even if a good friend warned me not to see it, I'd still see it. That being said, I really cannot recommend this movie at all. The only thing worth going to the movie for is to see Speed's older brother Rex Racer lookin' all hawt ... but be warned, I'm not talking about Matthew Fox ... I guess you'll have to see the movie to understand what I mean.

I think I'll be working all afternoon, then I have an appointment this evening and I'm hoping to see Steph and Alek before the day ends. I'll also be hoping to see the sun at some point today.