Paul's Review of Speed Racer
I have to say this: I am pleasantly surprised. I remember seeing the previews for this movie and I thought to myself, "Oh man...Hollywood is hitting a new low." This was coming from a kid who loved anime, drew it for art projects in school, and almost had no shame when it came to cartoons. (Although admittedly I could never stand the jerky animation in "Speed Racer"). As I heard good things I slowly became intrigued and I wondered what it might be like.
Finally, my roommate picked up a DVD of it and we plugged it in. Imagine my surprise when I actually got caught up in the storm. Yes, the special effect border on the line of amazing and ridiculous. (I rolled my eyes as I watched the previews...especially when the tires on racing cars pretty much had a duel). However, when I finally watched it in context with all the other many things going on around them, I was much more accepting of the universe the Wachowski brothers created.
People have slammed on the acting...but to me, judging acting is pretty much like judging figure skating. It's stupid, pointless, and so arbitrary that I can't believe people get paid to do it. The only time where I agree with critics on acting ability is when the acting is SO bad that it is undeniable. But in those cases, I hardly need a critic to tell me a performance is unbelievable. Having said that, some may see the acting as cheesy, but I thought it was very touching. I enjoyed the bit where Speed would speak to his father, or where he faced off with the leader of a conglamorate.
Then, there is the directing. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat as I watched the races. I actually WANTED Speed to win. I was so invested in the characters and his purpose for racing that it would have wrecked my day if he lost. There were moments where I looked at my screen and said to myself, "Alright, that was pretty stupid", but then there were moments where I felt what Speed must have felt. In the final race, where he begins to pass his opponents and he enteres the "zone" and as he passes the finish line, the daze he must have felt as a result of his victory carried over to me. It was truly energizing. It even FELT triumphant. Yes, there are many weird parts in the movie, but if you are willing to let go and give it a chance, the movie will grab you and take you for a great ride.