Speed Racer
  • Speed Racer
  • Speed Racer

Speed Racer

4.2 24
Director: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

Cast: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci

     
 

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The Matrix masterminds Andy and Larry Wachowski usher anime icon Tatsuo Yoshida's classic 1960s-era hit into the new millennium with this family-friendly story of a young racecar driver who takes on the mysterious Racer X in a custom-made, gadget-loaded speed machine named the Mach 5. Speed Racer (See more details below

Overview

The Matrix masterminds Andy and Larry Wachowski usher anime icon Tatsuo Yoshida's classic 1960s-era hit into the new millennium with this family-friendly story of a young racecar driver who takes on the mysterious Racer X in a custom-made, gadget-loaded speed machine named the Mach 5. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is the kind of driver that every wheelman wishes he could be: a born winner whose unbeatable combination of aggression, instinct, and fearlessness always finds him crossing the checkered flag with a comfortable lead. In Speed Racer's mind, the only driver who could present him with any real challenge is his late brother -- the legendary Rex Racer. Rex died in a heated cross-country rally known as The Crucible many years ago, and now his younger sibling is driven to fulfill the legacy that Rex left behind. To this day, Speed Racer is fiercely loyal to family. It was Speed Racer's father, Pops Racer (John Goodman), who designed the unbeatable Mach 5, and even a lucrative offer from racing giants Royalton Industries isn't enough to get the young ace to break his family ties. Upon turning down Royalton's (Roger Allam) astronomical offer, Speed Racer makes the shocking discovery that the outcomes of the biggest races are being predetermined by a handful of powerful moguls who pad their profits by manipulating the drivers. Realizing that his career would be ruined if word of the fix gets out, Royalton vows that the Mach 5 will never make it to another finish line. Now, the only way for Speed Racer to save the family business and beat Royalton at his own game will be to win the very same race that claimed his brother's life so many years ago. In order to accomplish that formidable feat, however, Speed Racer will not only have to rely on his family and the aid of his longtime girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), but form a tenuous alliance with his longtime rival -- the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) -- as well.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The Wachowski Brothers' CG-fueled futuristic adventure Speed Racer delivers on every promise. An adaptation of the '60s Japanese cartoon that was among the first anime to hit the States, the movie follows through on every element that endeared the furiously high-strung show to its audience, and offers giant, hypnotically strobing neon signs screaming "FUN! FUN! FUN!" to all viewers who go to the movies looking for a good time. You don't really need to have seen the original series to get what they were going for here -- catching a parody of it on Family Guy or The Simpsons imparts the basic idea. Speed Racer is about shows of over-the-top intensity: screams and gasps, rapid-fire dialogue, and more highest-of-the-high-stakes good vs. evil intrigue than the world of car racing could conceivably house outside this flashy fantasy universe. Even without the film's other successes, the Wachowskis' rendering of that Day-Glo universe is reason enough for fans of enjoy-the-ride cinema to check it out. It's set in the original series' era of around 1967 -- if 1967 were the future. And the awesomely absurd melted-candy whirlwind that makes up every scene's art direction is just the beginning (think Brady Bunch sets on acid); the movie's more fantastical locales make the phrase "eye candy" sound like weak sauce. Speed's trip to a plush-and-plastic corporate R&D facility is like a zillion-dollar science-lab version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, and that doesn't even touch on the races -- of which there are a few. They're set on tracks like space-age, black-lit roller coasters and employ entertaining and remarkably consistent reinventions of physics. It's that epic, candy-coated-PCP intensity that really packages the whole film up as a faithful adaptation, though. The Wachowskis dreamed up an insane plot that could support the fantastically ridiculous fierceness that's so inherent to the franchise's style, balancing the dramatics stroke for stroke with funny, well-paced, and very family-friendly humor. This was, after all, a kids' show -- and Speed Racer is a PG movie. Fans who fondly remember Speed's race-track rivals flying off the road into violent, unforgiving explosions may be disappointed here to see most casualties fleeing their flaming wreckage in escape pods. It's a necessary change to make the film consumable for today's kids (or, maybe more accurately, today's parents), but younger viewers still might drop out before the end -- two hours and 15 minutes is a long time for a sugar high. There's a fair amount of wordy exposition that can seem like a bit much, but the script is keen on spelling out the things that make all the emotional bombast so necessary. They're simple and loudly broadcasted ideas (Family is important! Racing is awesome!), but Speed Racer wouldn't be Speed Racer if there weren't hurricanes of emotion and looks of desperate determination flying around -- both of which, by the way, star Emile Hirsch pulls off tremendously, especially with nothing but a green screen for inspiration. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Hirsch, with his Tiger Beat doe eyes and heart-shaped face, looks like an anime character. Christina Ricci, who plays his helicopter-flying girlfriend, Trixie, has been described this way for years, and the rest of the cast, who otherwise look like normal humans, clearly took extremely nuanced direction to capture that old-school anime style. If you look carefully, you might notice scenes of dialogue where actors hold a fixed, intense expression in their eyes as they articulate wildly with their mouth -- recalling the feel of hand-drawn animation, in which artists would animate only a character's mouth to save money. Likewise, look for the way Paulie Litt strikes lighting-fast, freeze-frame poses as little brother Spritle, or listen for the way Matthew Fox evokes the baritone gravitas of dubbed kung fu villains as the mysterious Racer X. The film is also littered with deliberate misuses of parallax, evoking the feeling of 2-D animation with very 3-D elements. It's impressive that, with everything else about the movie that goes bounding calculatedly over the top, the Wachowski's kept this element reeled in. But then, they had to pick something.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/2008
UPC:
0085391176459
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Time:
2:15:00

Special Features

Spritle in the Big Leagues - tour the movie set with Paulie Litt; Speed Racer: Supercharged! - meet the drivers of the wrl; explore the film's incredible cars and unbelievable racetracks; Speed Racer: Car-Fu Cinema - a behind-the-scenes llok at the revolutionary moviemaking process; Exclusive bonus disc - Speed Racer Crucible Challenge

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Emile Hirsch Speed
Christina Ricci Trixie
Susan Sarandon Mom
Matthew Fox Racer X
John Goodman Pops
Roger Allam Royalton
Nicholas Elia Young Speed
Melissa Holroyd Speed's Teacher
Paulie Litt Spritle
Benno Fürmann Inspector Detector
Ariel Winter Young Trixie
Hiroyuki Sanada Mr. Musha
Gian Ganziano Everyman Announcer
Rain Taejo Togokahn
Peter Fernandez Local Announcer
Richard Roundtree Ben Burns
Harvey Friedman Harold Ledermann Announcer
Kick Gurry Sparky
John Benfield Cruncher Block
Sadao Ueda Japanese Announcer
Christian Oliver Snake Oiler
Valery Tscheplanowa Russian Announcer
Nayo Wallace Minx
Moritz Bleibtreu Grey Ghost
Sami Loris Italian Announcer
Olivier Marlo French Announcer
Sean McDonagh Celtic Announcer
Ashley Walters Prince Kabala
Scott Porter Rex
Vinzenz Kiefer Crew Chief/Sempre Fi-Ber Driver
Mark Zak Blackjack Benelli
Willy Chim Chim
Kenzie Chim Chim
Julia Joyce Blonde Pack Leader
Clayton Nemrow Race Announcer
Ricky Watson Race Commentator
Brandon Robinson Big Mouth
L. Trey Wilson Press Man
Lauren Blake Flight Attendant
Cosma Shiva Hagen Gennie
Ralph Herforth Cannonball Taylor
Waldemar Kobus Vinny - Cruncher Thug
Max Hopp Cruncher Thug
Julie T. Wallace Truck Driver
Matthias Redhammer Marvin the Cleaning Man
Ecki Hoffman Joel Goldman
Stephen Marcus Security Goon
Art La Fleur Fuji Announcer
Peter Navy Tuiasosopo Fuji Announcer
Yu Nan Horuko
Paul Sirr Dour Face
Ramon Tikaram Casa Christo Announcer
Melvil Poupaud Johnny "Goodboy" Jones
Kad "Y" Taylor Queen of Casa Christo
Junior Sone Enang Shark Driver
Jana Pallaske Delila
Dari Maximova Flying Fox
Werner Daehn Sempre Fi-Ber Leader
Komi Togbonou Thor-azine Leader
Leila Rozario Hydro-cell Driver
Steven Wilson C.I.B. Security Man
Karl Yune Taejo Body Guard
Togo Igawa Mr. Togokahn
Jonathan Kinsler Fuji Reporter
Anatole Taubman Fuji Reporter
Ben Miles Cass Jones
Frank Witter Security Official
Megan Gay Senior Race Official
Corinne Orr Grand Prix Female Announcer
Joe Mazza Nitro
Joon Park Yakuza Driver
Ludmilla Ismailow Denise
Milka Duno Gearbox
Amira Osman Count Down Tower Woman
Jens Neuhaus German Announcer
Sesede Terziyan Turkish Announcer
Ill-Young Kim Korean Announcer
Yuriri Naka Japanese Announcer
Oscar Ortega Sánchez Spanish Announcer
Yu Fang Chinese Announcer
Narges Rashidi Persian Announcer
Andrés Cantor Grand Prix Announcer

Technical Credits
Andy Wachowski Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Larry Wachowski Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Jessica Alan Score Composer,Co-producer
Jessica Alan Score Composer
Kym Barrett Costumes/Costume Designer
Roger Barton Editor
Bruce Berman Executive Producer
J. Andre Chaintrevil Set Decoration/Design
Dane A. Davis Sound/Sound Designer
Kim Frederiksen Set Decoration/Design
Michael Giacchino Score Composer
Grant Hill Executive Producer
Lora Kennedy Casting
Sebastian Krawinkel Art Director
Michael Lambert Executive Producer
Roberto Malerba Co-producer
James McTeigue Asst. Director
Wolfgang Metschan Set Decoration/Design
Henning Molfenter Co-producer
Terry Needham Asst. Director
Owen Paterson Production Designer
Marco Bittner Rosser Art Director
David Lane Seltzer Executive Producer
Ivan Sharrock Sound/Sound Designer
Joel Silver Producer
Zach Staenberg Editor
Lucinda Syson Casting
David Tattersall Cinematographer
Carl L. Woebcken Co-producer

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