5/10/08

Speed Racer: Anime in 3-D

Why It's a Geek Movie
Anime is a staple genre of geek programing third only to sci-fi and fantasy (with a plethora of crossing over between these three). The original Speed Racer TV program is a staple of the anime genre. While the popular kids were vegging out to Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones, early geek anime lovers' eyes were fixed on Speed's lovable baby-face. (Wait, did that make me sound gay?)

What's it About?
Speed Racer is an altruistic racecar driver whose family has suffered a terrible tragedy with the death of Speed's older brother Rex in a terrible racing "accident." He soon discovers that this death is likely part of a plot by large sponsor corporations to control and profit from racing when he's approached by one of these slimy corporate dogs. Determined to bring racing back to a purer state and motivated by the memory of his brother, Speed enters the Grand Prix, a race that has been fixed by the corporations for years, and attempts to bring them down by winning fair and square and exposing their deceptive methods.

...Also, who the heck is Racer X?

How to Appreciate It
Let's face it: if you can't appreciate the campy style of anime, you're not likely to be able to appreciate this movie. The Wachowskis translated the tension, the energy and the campy humor of 2-D anime perfectly into a 3-D, live action model. The trick to appreciating this movie is to realize you're not watching anything like you've ever seen ever before. This is something completely new, completely revolutionary - not at all what you're used to, no matter what you've seen in the past. This is not the real world, but at the same time it's not a cartoon world. It's really more like a cartoon world, but it has depth in both spirit and dimension. Don't go into Speed Racer expecting another action movie. You get a boat load of action, but it's more family oriented and... well, cartoony. To appreciate this movie, you have to realize that that's ok!

Is it Worth It?
When you can appreciate Speed Racer for what it is, then the action draws you in, the tension draws you forward and the story draws your interest. The campy comedy is a great break in tension every now and then and it comes at perfect points. It's definitely worth it for fans of the show and definitely worth it for those who are willing to suspend their disbelief and engage their imagination.

But if you have no imagination, then it's gonna be stupid.