"The colors Duke! The colors!"
- The world of Speed Racer is a bright and multi-colored one. Everything in the film from the scifi race cars, the purple flying machines, to the cabinet of candy pops with a radiance that seems to scream "the future. " The coloration also easily distinguishes the look of Speed Racer from most other films. The colors paint the whole film in a light hearted tone that matches the content. There's hardly a moment of banality in the whole film. After all, this is the future where cars can dance across suspended tracks and where racing rules all. So why bother showing Speed brushing his teeth or washing his face?
The future is a melting pot.
- It pleases me to see that the Wachowski's version of the future is made up of people of all different races and cultures. The announcers and racer especially are a particularly diverse assortment in the film. Take a look.
A wink. A nod. And a bow.
- In order to adapt the anime series into a film, the Wachowski brothers had to make some changes. Still, despite the time being set in the highly "futuristic" future where cars race on tracks that resemble roller coasters, Speed Racer the film still has many throwbacks to the original material. Though I haven't seen the anime series since I was a kid, I'm pretty sure the milk, ninjas, and the pose that Speed makes after winning in the Casa Cristo race is classic material. More interesting is the tone the Wachowski brothers have toward some of the classic material when it clashes with the realism of the live action film. For example, instead of removing the ninja from the scene in th middle of the Casa Cristo race, the ninja were kept ineffectual and goofy. When Trixie asked if those were ninja, Pops responds: "More like a nonja. Terrible what passes for a ninja these days." After all, if those ninja were "real ninja" there's no way the Speed family would have been unharmed.
Rough Play... play being the operative term.
- It's difficult to write an interesting story if the main character never faces any challenges or setbacks. As the saying goes "you can't win them all." Functionally (storytelling wise) the Wachowski brothers had to find a way to rough up Speed without being too violent. The solution ended up being an automatic safety system that encases the driver in bubbles before their car is completely destroyed (see above). This mechanic allowed for the characters to take out opponents without killing them, thus playing and keeping the races in the realm of a sporting event. This mechanic also allowed for Speed to be taken out at the Fuji race. The Wachowski brothers probably realized that showing someone lose a race by crossing the finish line in any place but first wouldn't be as devastating or impactful as having a car get wrecked and watching the driver fly off the track. Over all, the auto-bubbling mechanic made for a better film.
Monkey see, Monkey over do? Nope.
- I appreciate how the real life monkey was implemented into the film. Instead of using a computer generated model, the actors worked with a live Chimp. The monkey was mostly kept to the background of the film. When a scene did focus on it, its actions were simple and quick. Chimp Chimp couldn't steal or distract from the show with such a small role.
Very clean. Mostly air tight.
- After watching Speed Racer again carefully, I've determined that the film is very clean. By clean I mean that Speed Racer tells its main story without adding unnecessary scenes, dragging any scene out too long, or deviating from communicating anything that doesn't directly involve Speed and this plight. The movie didn't waste any time. From the opening scene, the story races along until the blazing finish. Aside from the "we don't have a car" issue before the final race, I haven't found any plot holes. I'm not sure why Speed couldn't use the car he drove at Casa Cristo or in the previous scene. Maybe Pops meant that they don't have a Grand Prix ready car.