Speed Racer Reviews

William Goss
Film.com
Top Critic
May 29, 2013

Amid the overly earnest tone, (almost) squeaky-clean humor and familiar messages about teamwork and integrity is the rare film family that's as strong at the start as they are by the end.

Tom Charity
CNN.com
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

Twelve-year-old boys should be wowed, but for the rest of us, it will depend on your appetite for eye candy.

Bob Mondello
NPR.org
Top Critic
October 18, 2008


St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

Even the target audience of 10-year-olds might get jimmy legs sitting for a punishing 135 minutes as the Wachowski brothers projectile-vomit their cotton-candy dreams all over the big screen.

| Original Score: 2/4
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic
May 12, 2008

I love the look and the style and the spirit of this film.

David Ansen
Newsweek
Top Critic
May 12, 2008

Speed Racer creates a timeless, visually seductive world suspended somewhere between the pop '60s and the sci-fi future. Its biggest disappointment, strangely enough, is its raison d'Ítre -- the races themselves.

Christopher Orr
The New Republic
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Speed Racer intends to convey a sense of heedless momentum, but it drags painfully.

Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

This toxic admixture of computer-generated frenzy and live-action torpor succeeds in being, almost simultaneously, genuinely painful -- the esthetic equivalent of needles in eyeballs -- and weirdly benumbing, like eye candy laced with lidocaine.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

More than the story of the Racer family, Speed Racer is the visual autobiography of the Wachowskis and their pit crew of computer-nerd Einsteins, using the tools of their trade to transform the movie medium.

Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

For a movie about velocity, the excitement factor is low and the races feel like a drag.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Philip Marchand
Toronto Star
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The movie, unfortunately, doesn't make that leap from sensation to art, but it suggests fascinating possibilities for moviemakers interested in using the latest techniques seriously to explore the world -- the fairyland we have made with our technology.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Dana Stevens
Slate
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Shapes hurtle toward you, then recede abruptly, each bearing some fragment of narrative information that has now passed you by forever. Nausea and anxiety begin to wash over you in overlapping waves.

Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The actors seem lost in a gumball dispenser; the audience, for the most part, might well feel the same way.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Someday, real artists may come along to use some of the techniques that the Wachowskis are developing. Then things will get interesting.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Any film fan will appreciate the Wachowskis' vision of this alternate universe that's every bit as densely textured and as pan-Asian/pan-planetary in its casting as The Matrix.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Speed Racer is brilliantly photographed and edited. It's told in a literally visionary style, full of innovation and breathtaking risk. But when it comes to the story, it's running on empty.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The movie makes you crave a streamlined story, interesting characters and a joystick.

Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of the Matrix films, once again invent stunning visual tricks in this adaptation of the late-'60s Japanese anime.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Were Larry and Andy Wachowski just really, really lucky when they made The Matrix?

| Original Score: 1/4
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The fakeness of it all overwhelms, dampening any real excitement. It's hard to care about characters so stiff and one-dimensional they out-cartoon the cartoon originals.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

It gave me a headache, a stomach ache and the less-defined unease that comes from witnessing a major change in the zeitgeist. Because the zeitgeist, judging from this movie, now embraces rattle-headed visual delirium at all costs.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

An eye-popping, day-glo videogame that's as emotionally empty as it is visually exhilarating, Speed Racer is style, style, style without substance, but then it moves so fast that many may not care.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Sugar, not petrol, is the fuel that comes to mind watching candy-hued, visually hyperactive, narratively sputtering Speed Racer.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

This is a movie that is giddily, gorgeously overwhelming, from the cool slow-motion to the Kubrick cartoons to the wormhole pyrotechnics to the kaleidoscopic bliss.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Speed Racer is so hyperfrenetic that, in the end, you wonder if the Wachowskis aren't trying to pull off an elaborate hoax -- a deranged techno fantasia posing as retro-ish family fare.

Full Review | Original Score: C-
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

So bereft of intelligence, style and excitement that I can't figure out who in the world it's supposed to appeal to.

Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The Matrix creators Andy and Larry Wachowski barrel through this adaptation of the 60s animated series, hoping perhaps that no one will notice the story is as flat as roadkill.

Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

The movie demands you be a glutton for sensation and then has the nerve to ask why you're not hungrier.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Jim Emerson
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Speed Racer is a manufactured widget, a packaged commodity that capitalizes on an anthropomorphized cartoon of Capitalist Evil in order to sell itself and its ancillary products.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
May 9, 2008

Yes, from adults through teens to tykes, there's something here for everyone to dislike -- the whole clan can have fun making fun of this thing.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

Speed Racer offers a crazy, turbo-charged mix of cartoon kitsch, gamer action, and a wild new way to think of -- and look at -- movies.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

A frenetic, densely layered, narratively scrambled blob of moviemaking that will leave viewers alternately baffled and sensorially stunned.

A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

Speed Racer sets out to honor and refresh a youthful enthusiasm from the past and winds up smothering the fun in self-conscious grandiosity.

| Original Score: 2/5
Scott Tobias
AV Club
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

In the early going, the whiz-bang editing and searing primary colors in Speed Racer work like a sugar rush, but the crash from all that overstimulation is enough to reduce grown men into sobbing infants.

Full Review | Original Score: C
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

At its best, it's buoyant pop entertainment focused on three things: speed, racing and retina-splitting oceans of digitally captured color.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

Against all odds it succeeds, making for a spectacular -- and spectacularly strange -- viewing experience.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

Ultimately, Speed Racer comes down to the lesson your parents taught you: Despite the flash, looks aren't everything.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Hank Sartin
Time Out New York
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

It's frankly exhausting, and like that bag of Skittles, it won't really satisfy your hunger. But look at all those bright, shiny colors.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
May 8, 2008

At an exceedingly long 135 minutes, the film needs more than what might result from the explosion of a Crayola factory, and Speed Racer has nothing extra to offer -- no heart, no excitement, no moments to cherish.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
May 7, 2008

Young boys are the only suitable audience for Speed Racer, and even they might feel an urge to squirm between the videogame-style, whizbang, jellybean-colored, CG-jiggered car races that are the adrenalized heart of this entertainment with no soul.

Full Review | Original Score: C
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
Top Critic
May 7, 2008

The Wachowski brothers have tumbled into a matrix of their own with Speed Racer, one which has rendered them completely out of touch with the outside world.

Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
May 7, 2008

I can sit through just about anything, but I draw the line at two hours and 15 minutes of fuchsia vomit. To suffer through this kind of hell, movie critics deserve combat pay.

J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
May 7, 2008

Ideologically anti-corporate, previous Wachowski productions aspired to be something more than mind-less sensation; Speed Racer is thrilled to be less. It's the delusions minus the grandeur.

Anthony Lane
New Yorker
Top Critic
May 5, 2008

I reckon the M.P.A.A. should use the advent of Speed Racer to revive an old ratings symbol: a big Roman X, meaning 'of no conceivable interest to anyone over the age of ten.'

David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
May 5, 2008

It's an eyesore, a shambles, with incoherent action and ear-buckling dialogue.

Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
May 2, 2008

Unlike a Pixar cartoon that embraces as wide an audience as possible, Speed Racer proudly denies entry into its ultra-bright world to all but gamers, fanboys and anime enthusiasts.

Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic
May 1, 2008

Pure cotton candy -- entirely non-nutritious but too sweet and pretty for young people to resist.

Laremy Legel
Film.com
Top Critic
April 28, 2008

Full Review | Original Score: B