Speed Racer’s ‘crack cinema’ mess

June 12, 2008

With the birth of any new cinematic form there is bound to be pain. And Speed Racer is that pain. A confused hyper real corny technicolour vomit of a movie, that still one cannot help but admire on some level for inventing what I have dubbed ‘crack cinema’.

‘Crack Cinema’ being its ‘mise en scene’. Like Sin City before it, Speed Racer gives us a world and vision only possible through CGI. And like Sin City, Speed Racer’s world is a completely new vision, albeit one on a permanent crack binge with flying lights, gaudy colours ala David La Chapelle, neon Vegas glitz, chiselled bodies, impossible action, etc. For all this Speed Racer should be proud.

That said its a damn shame the film is such a piece of shit. The script resembles every cliché you can fit into two hours about competing, family and ‘going for it’. The look of the film is amazing and an art in itself… But, and it’s a big Butt, the CGI car chases are so boring as they are utterly unbelievable, unrealistic and impossible in this world or the next. The car manoeuvres defy logic, sense and even a sense of what is actaully going on, as this ‘crack cinema’ excursion seems to have found its way into the pipe of the directors, who make a confusing mish mash of this mess. Quentin Tarrantino called it right when he bagged the Wachowski brothers for creating dull action sequences in the later Matrix films, with way too much CGI. This couldn’t be more true here. The CGI is needed for the innovative look of the film granted, but the decision to make these car chases cartoon CGI set pieces is a dire error. Compare Tarrantino’s Death Proof’s car brilliance with these clowns staging…and you’ll know of what I speak.

Amiel Hirsch, a new young Jewish star who couldn’t look more Aryan, is miscast as Speed. These epics need a name to carry them. Robert Downey held together the absurd Iron Man and made it into a half decent super hero flick. But Hirsh just doesn’t cut it here. The rest of the car driving cast resemble members of Hitler’s Wehrmacht, except for Rain (Korean pop star) who would make a good kamikaze pilot. Ricci is superfluous. The Racer X stuff is bullshit. Goodman as Pops has a good scene as wrestler that works. The fat kid and Monkey are incredibly annoying. Sarandon is looking at her paycheck, etc.

I mean who needs a fucking Speed Racer movie anyway?! The original show sucked I worked out at about the age of seven. What’s next The Groovy Ghoulies movies! That might be fun, actually…

The Wachowski brothers are very talented and Racer can be viewed as video art from start to finish and from this perspective it totally succeeds. But it’s their worst film from a narrative and directorial perspective. They pour real drama, childish stupidity, cutting edge visual FX, hyper real car action scenes and TV show homage all into one gigantic cinematic blender. The result a ‘crack cinema’ shake. There were 7 people at Village Jam Factory on Opening Night in Melbourne, people have stayed away in droves in the States, and you can see why…

But, the birth of a new cinematic genre is not always a masterpiece, so hats off to Speed Racer, all the same for giving us ‘crack cinema’. And possible the worlds most expensive video art project.

4 Responses to “Speed Racer’s ‘crack cinema’ mess”

  1. badMike said

    Oh good, you agree with me on the miscasting of Hirsch. It was like having a pop art gallery show, but where the main focus is the white wall and not the Lichtensteins and the Rosenquists.

    I didn’t enjoy the film much, but thought it got a bum rap. The Wachowskis need to hire a good screenwriter next time out.

  2. Rupert said

    “Speed Racer” is arduous, perhaps they should have tried G-Force? (Green Screen Force?) Green Screen is interesting in smaller doses, or when used for its “pop art” like qualities, that screen-print effect, but techniques used in say Tron, or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (The television series) where emulation causes to great effect a very nice feel works better – all this is a departure from illusion, instead it is a replacement, that is not to say it isn’t useful or fun but where is the challenge, and therefore the result of that challenge?

    Anyway, I thought the “Car Race” scenes were drab, I saw a better, shorter car race moment on Inspector Rex last night, and that program sometimes really asks you to suspend belief.

    Rups 🙂

  3. Greg Maxwell said

    It was crap. I didn’t even bother watching til the end.

  4. badMike said

    I think they are making a G-Force movie, but it’ll be all-CGI animation and no live action if I remember correctly.

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