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Speed Racer 2008 - Film Review

Updated on May 14, 2015
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Prologue

As a young boy of a car racing family, Speed Racer looked up to his bigger bother Rex and dreamed of the day he would become a racer like him. His father was a car designer and Rex raced the cars he created. However one night Rex left under mysterious circumstances and Speed had to watch as his reputation went south in the Racing world.

However keeping a promise to his brother Speeder becomes a racer but will he find the truth to why his brother really left?

The Film

I had never seen or heard anything about Speed Racer before. Ok I can hear most of you screaming at me now thinking you must be loopy, but honestly I didn't. I do enjoy watching a good rally circuit but racing in general was never really my thing. However when a friend said about watching this film I thought why not.

On first impressions its very heavily stylised and it does take some getting used to. Its like watching a Tim Burton film where you get punched in the face with all this style and then as you get used to it you can finally settle in to watching and enjoying the story. This film is COLOUR CRAZY! and to be honest I don't understand why there wasn't a warning on at the beginning to say that people might have have segues as it is very intense.

Once you get pasted the Lazy Town appearance (Preschool Children's TV series which is pretty cool) and get into the story it's not that bad.

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The story on the other hand jumps about a bit. I'm gathering this is due to the fact they wanted to try and get as much of the background from the anime and manga into the series as possible so you could understand what was going on. To be honest I thought this was annoying at first but really buy the end its very sweet and you get a good understanding of the family spirit and what happened in the past. So you may not like it but bear with it.

Once you get past the jumping stage and get into the story things certainly make more sense. Though in places I did feel a little lost to what was happening. But with dropping the main premise of the film on you quite quickly you get the gist enough to follow.

My main frustration with the film was that there seemed to be nothing consistent. Character profiles changed and morphed to fit something in that hadn't been mentioned until that point. So for example (SPOILER ALERT) Speed Racer gets attacked by Ninjas and automatically knows how to fight in Kung Fu? Whaaaa? That was never brought up before. Or that the dad also is a pro retired wrestler? It was just weird and wonderful. I'm gathering this might be a reference to someone who knew the manga or anime but someone who has just jumped in this made no sense. There was quite a few pieces where your sitting thinking, hang on how or why has that happened. Didn't they say this but now they are doing that? As I say really it wasn't very easy to follow.

Speed Racer was the dullest character in the film until he was racing for me, there is still plenty of other characters to get attached too. Of all the characters I enjoyed learning about was the family and how really they had suffered with loss and humiliation when things went sideways with Rex as well as what happens with Speed himself yet they still stand strong together. There are a few characters in the family which feel too much or unnecessary but obviously when your making something based off an old anime and manga you can't exactly take them out suddenly. But its the fact there is heart and determination in this family that gives this film the lift it needs it places to keep its momentum going.

Once you get past the inconsistent characters and bit jumpy story line and the colours through stuff gets interesting.

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The effects and the action is amazing! The racing sequences where mind blowing, specially when you see the level of detail put into the tracks and the surroundings. For me the closed circuit tracks were far better than the Cross Country section. This was due to the fact parts of the Cross Country to me looked fake. You could tell where the CG had been added and over lapped and in one section I can remember telling my friend that the CG was hovering over the top of the layer rather than touching which was disappointing.

But the closed tracks stuff blew my mind. There is so much action and the way the camera is placed so cleverly we can see every bit of it in full detail. I felt like I was holding my breath through parts of it just because I felt like I was driving that car myself. There is lots of cars rolling and jumping and in a way doing aerobatics it was fascinating to watch.

Some parts were weaker than others like I say but the level of detail was incredible even if not all of them were counted as the best quality. But as a person who isn't into racing this was very well done and there was some very well thought out cars and unique traps and tricks to them all.

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So over all this film is not what I would call best but is very entertaining. Just make sure to turn the brightness down on your TV before you start as the colours are intense. Look past its weaknesses and its flaws it is very entertaining.

And here is a fun fact. I learnt that Turbo in Wreak it Ralf was actually a homage to Speed Racer. I thought that was totally cool.

So if your just wanting something to watch Speed Racer may be your thing. However if your wanting quality then this might push a few of the wrong buttons.

My rating is a 6 out of 10.


Speed Racer and none of these images belong to me I just use them as reference for my review.

Movie Trailer

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