I saw the Speed Racer movie last night...

super-serious-looking Speed Racer

And found it surprisingly delightful. I went with the fullest intention of MST3King it, but I quickly found myself distracted by the huge amounts of shiny. It's just so much fun to watch. Sure, the plot isn't terribly deep, and the special effects border on cartoonish, but hell, what do you expect? I mean, take a look at the source material (no, seriously) - it could have been a lot worse. The thing about Speed Racer is that you can't expect it to be any more than it is. It's cute without being juvenile while remaining appropriately ridiculous and over the top.

Probably the most compelling thing about the movie is it's stylization. You get a lot of classic anime-style still-foreground-character-on-moving-background effects, but so much more as well. There were a few points where the landscape was colorfully unfolded like some kind of trippy pop-up book, or the cars would suddenly do something so crazy you just have to relent and say "okay, now that was cool". And between the over-saturated colors and bizarre lighting, the movie definitely apart from its more conventional contemporaries.

I haven't seen enough of the original cartoon so as to comment on how faithful the movie is to the series, but does it really matter? Where else are you going to see John Goodman using Kung-fu (with obligatory, stylized swishes) on bad guys?

Other reasons to see the movie:

  • Teaches us that school doesn't matter as long as you can pilot robotic cars with expertise.
  • Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Christina Ricci
  • Kid Speed and Trixie are so damn cool.
  • Trixie: "Was that a ninja?"
  • Pops: "More like a non-ja..."
  • The futuristic racing serves as an allegory for the American Dream.
  • The good guys are motivated by revenge and hatred of the big corporations rather than altruism.
  • Those prone to epileptic seizures should stay far away from the theater.