Go, Speed Racer, Go

Just for fun on a Sunday, you can see how an 8 year old boy and a 6 year old girl react to a first time viewing of The Wachowski Brothers critically slagged but mightily interesting Speed Racer after catching it in the Cinema (at Toronto Underground’s Defending the Indefensible Series). Expect more (‘adult’) conversation on this weeks cinecast, but for now children’s perspective on the mach-speed-eye-candy. The video is embedded below. Enjoy.

Kurt Halfyard
Resident culture snob.

26 Comments

    • Well, all women (and all characters) in anime pretty much look the same don’t they?
      I Googled Pokemon boy and got this kid. Who looks just like the girls above:

      But on a less cynical note, I really like the live action version of Speed Racer. Will check out your kids’ thoughts when I arrive at work…. so’s I can get paid for watching ;)

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  1. Not to me. Sure there are limitations in detail in anime, but the hair colouring, the lift of the hair ends. I’m thinking more than ‘similarity by co-incidence,’ in this case.

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  2. Hey Miranda, I think you’re right about why the older brother didn’t come clean at the end – and yeah, your new shirt is pretty awesome!

    Willem does a good job of explaining his favorite bits from the movie, but I think you need to tell your father that you each get a lolli-pop – you shouldn’t have to share one!

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  3. Re: the anime look. I suppose the hair is different, but that’s it. Don’t think it’s coincidental. Do a Google image search for “anime girl.” every. single. one. look exactly the same with a different hair style. It’s actually pretty creepy.

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  4. For the record, Miranda’s shirt said “AND YOUR POINT IS…” which she insisted on wearing for the show although there is never a clear shot of it, despite her best efforts at the beginning…Basically, I wanted the Pink / Orange / Blue / White look that the movie has with the clothes. It worked out all-right, I was going to attempt some simple blue-screening work and put stuff in the background, but that requires more planning. I should talk to the Substream guys, their set-up is flawless in its green-screening.

    Also, I thought that the lollypop is the perfect visual for the film, the fact that they were fighting over a single one is kind of the spirit of the movie, but that’s an accidental plus, as I only had one of them on hand.

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  5. just wanted to direct Kurt if he hasnt already to the thoughts I posted on his FB wall about Speed…

    Corey Pierce
    Speeeeeeed Raaaacer Dayyyyyy!

    Kurt Halfyard
    Kids Loved it (Miranda found the first half hour confusing and was a bit bored.) I had a blast with the movie, but still remain unconvinced of its greatness. It’s fun, but bafflingly full of contradictions. Like Miller’s Crossing crossed with Dick Tracey and The Flintstones … in DayGloComposite.

    Corey Pierce
    I think its greatness gets clearer with rewatches. My first watch was me havnig a blast but feeling apologetic about its goofiness, like it was a guilty pleasure. Every repeat viewing has me finding new things and new appreciations of how it works tonally, from the earnestness of the family dynamic to the over-the-top cartoonyness of the same characters at other points… and how in repeat viewings they mesh so much better and i see them reflected in each other. I also notice little gags more like paying attention to everything Sparky is doing in the fights, music cues, how Royalton winks as a door opens. There is so much detail in Speed Racer and I feel that the Wachowski’s know everything they are doing.

    Corey Pierce
    You know how some Coen movies feel random and off the first time even if you enjoy them, and they feel more coherent, sensible and “masterpiecey” on repeat… I feel this way about Speed Racer. I also feel for your benefit, the next viewing you should see it in full HD and LOUD rather than the slightly blurry TUG projection. A full digital presentation of it only adds to the experience.”

    Corey Pierce
    You have to be able to tap into childishness while also having some understanding/appreciation of tone and a feeling of balance between ironic distance and earnestness. I think a lot of big film buffs like this movie for good reasons beyond it just being fun,

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  6. Yep. And there is a pretty ‘heated’ discussion of SR on this weeks Cinecast. Almost at “THE PRESTIGE” level conflict between Matt & I.

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  7. One thing I should have brought up is that I think Josie and the Pussycats does the whole anti-corporation in a kids type film plot way better and more subversively than Speed Racer does.

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  8. And it should be noted that I have nowhere near the disdain for SR that I do for The Prestige. Its a badly flawed film, but by no means a bad movie. It is fun to rile up Kurt though.

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  9. The thing is, I don’t feel HUGELY passionate about Speed Racer. It has some massively impressive editing and craft. It’s interesting in terms of its contradictions (the anti-corporate message in a huge corporate project, the Racer X deceiving his family so that the family can work as a family unit, the complicated structure on such a simple anime cartoon, etc. etc.) so it is a fun movie to talk about. The movie is very watchable for sure, it is one of the more unique movies to use all-digital-backlot techniques, but is it a movie to put serious consideration and critical muscle behind. No, I don’t think so.

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  10. I said this before, but now that Kurt has seen it: Speed Racer and Avatar are equally great by virtue of their spectacle value. They hit a momentum that strips me of any concern of form and structure and the pettiness of geek appetites, and it is just allowing myself to be immersed in their worlds.

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  11. I actually found Speed Racer to be more successful at that than Avatar…Mainly because Cameron is deadly serious with his movie, and the Wachowski’s are hard to put a finger on. They are earnest, but exceedingly goofy (particularly with all the chim-chim/Spritle stuff.) Also, I really do like the actor (Roger Allam) who plays Royalton and what he brings to the film. No fault to the Giovanni Ribisi and Steven Lang, but they are not nearly as much fun to watch.

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  12. I actually found Speed Racer to be more successful at that than Avatar…Mainly because Cameron is deadly serious with his movie, and the Wachowski’s are hard to put a finger on. They are earnest, but exceedingly goofy.

    THIS. This is exactly what I was trying to express over however many comments that Avatar discussion went on. The “deadly serious” aspect of Avatar is what put me off, while the “exceedingly goofy” aspect of Speed Racer is what I liked.

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  13. Except that Aliens and Terminator are jaunty little B-films, about characters, plot and not the shrill message mongering of the worst order on display in Avatar. Also, Sam Worthington is so bereft of personality (compare to characters in Aliens & Terminator for instance) it trumps the epic world-building, and bleeds the joy out of it. I don’t hate Avatar, I just find very little joy in the film (see also: Star Wars Prequels) This is major distinction in my book.

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  14. “One thing I should have brought up is that I think Josie and the Pussycats does the whole anti-corporation in a kids type film plot way better and more subversively than Speed Racer does.”

    Josie is underrated but not consistently entertaining. I think it’s far less unsure about how it’s using product placement from scene to scene. Someone should make some sort of line and rank use of product placement from clever to insulting… on teh bad end you’ve got your I Robot shoes, someone else on the line is the Wayne’s World Doritos/Pizza Hut/Adidas/Dominos section…

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  15. Return of the Killer Tomatoes was the first movie to openly mock product placement as part of the narrative. It was really well done, even better than the more blunt Waynes World which came 5 years later (probably from Myers having seen RotKT)

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  16. Thinking of the use of non-brands everywhere in Repo Man right now. I haven’t seen that since I was 20, and I wasn’t really into it then. Think it may be time to revisit.

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  17. good call on Kung Fu Hustle. I have not seen it but I know people who would probably suggest Looney Tunes: Back in Action

    A co-worker mentioned that Speed Racer probably would have gone over better if it had been a foreign/subtitled film, that the sort of goofy tone is expected or somehow goes down easier for a lot of people that way. or that others have a general bias or forgiving nature to foreign weirdness.

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