The highly anticipated big-screen adaption of "Speed Racer" opens this weekend, and so far the reviews are not that promising. Starring Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox and Christina Ricci, it's directed by the Wachowski brothers (Larry and Andy) of "Matrix" and "V For Vendetta" fame. The live-action adaptation of a popular Japanese cartoon, the film is about a kid who must win a race to save the family business. The film has already been reviewed, and the reviews are not very good.
USA Today's Speed Racer Review gave only 1 1/2 stars and said it "limped":
For a movie about velocity, the excitement factor is low and the races feel like a drag. Perhaps that has a lot to do with its length: 2 hours and 15 minutes, which is at least a half-hour too long for a movie based on a cartoon. Or maybe it's the predictable story about a guy who goes up against crooked corporate sponsors.
The AP, already picked up around the world, had an even less enthusiastic Speed Racer Review:
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.
In adapting the 1960s Japanese anime television series, writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski have created a noisy, overlong, mind-numbing extravaganza that seems tailor-made for nobody but themselves and their twisted sensibilities.
The NY Post Speed Racer review gave it only half a star:
This adventurously awful film is awful in many ways at once.
It is, like a Ferrari poking across East 42nd Street at rush hour, fast yet slow. It is futuristically retro. Its attention span is measurable in microseconds, yet it runs more than two hours. And it spent a trillion dollars imitating the look of a 10-cent cartoon from the primitive '60s - artistically, the Cro-Magnon era. I was initially awed by its splendors. But when I'd had my fill, there was still an hour-45 left.
Not to whine, but by the end, my eyeballs were on fire.
The New York Daily News Speed Racer Review was kinder and gave 3 of 5 stars:
Emotionally, "Speed Racer" stays in the family lane; when cars crash and burn, there are little bubbles called "quick-saves" that transport drivers to safety. The nostalgia factor is slight, and nothing new is added besides the effects. While that's not enough to make it a classic even among chintzy cartoon-born movies, middle-schoolers will have a blast.
A San Diegan paper also had a slightly more positive Speed Racer Review:
Speed kills, but it also thrills. Watching Andy and Larry Wachowski's hyperkinetic, candy-colored "Speed Racer" is like spending two hours caroming through a pinball machine. Sense and subtlety are road kill as the cartoon-deep plot zips by, but your inner third grader will be too jazzed to complain.
If, that is, you still have an inner 8-year-old. If you're totally grown up, you'll find "Speed" a long, dreary, migraine-inducing slog.
The Village Voice Speed Racer review was let down at it's lack of a deeper meaning:
Like The Matrix (or its engagingly primitive precursor, the DOS-era Disney relic Tron), Speed Racer gives the not-unrealistic impression of taking place inside a computer. But love, hate, or ignore it, The Matrix proposed a social mythology. (Just ask Slavoj Zizek.) Speed Racer is simply a mishmash that, among other things, intermittently parodies the earlier film's pretensions...
The villain (Roger Allam, V for Vendetta's fascist talk-show host) is a slavering tycoon, while Speed Racer is, as his mother tells him, an Artist. In the movie, racing is itself a racket--the effluvium of decaying Capital within the Matrix. Multinationals sponsor drivers, fix races, and use the sport to drive up the market price of their stock. (So the Wachowski brothers might once have regarded Hollywood.) 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.
Comics2film, who specializes in fare like this, had a mixed Speed Racer Review that ended with a warning:
Many will love the eye-candy portions of the movie. There are certainly several spectacular sequences that recall the cartoon but spin it in a compelling live-action way. Parts of it are truly beautiful. However, there are equally as many parts that just read to my eye like Easter eggs in a blender: the screen just seems a wash of luminous colors and glossy highlights, without any discernable shapes to latch onto.
I'm being serious when I caution epileptics to avoid this film.
So if you have yet to see "Iron Man," check it out this weekend.