Speed Racer Review (Visualisation & Conceptualisation)

The first thing that comes to mind after watching the movie Speed Racer was how completely blown away i was by the visuals in the movie. There are definitely more than a few similarities between this movie and the anime in which it was adapted from. The Wachowski brothers definitely showed us their skills in creating the essence of the movie and captivating the audience with the visual effects. To me, the visuals actually played a big part in making the movie worthy of watching, mainly because the entire storyline is so dull and predictable, i felt as if i already knew what was coming at the end of the movie. It seemed to me that from the beginning of the movie, the audience was already being led directly to the plan of Speed winning the Grand Prix race.

Another factor in which i have to give the directors credit for, is the fact that they have not forgotten the initial target audience of the Speed Racer anime, which of course, are the younger generation. Therefore, the Wachowski brothers have kept the more playful and humorous elements in the movie, which in my viewpoint, was done in an effort to buy the votes of the loyal Speed Racer anime fans. At the same time, the directors used the visuals as a tool to reel in the more mature audience. As they have said that Speed Racer is actually produced to be a family movie, that means they have to make this movie all-rounded by ensuring that they have attended to different elements in the movie that appeal to all audience, regardless of the age group.

Many have said that in comparison to the Wachowski’s prior blockbuster movie, which was the incredibly successful Matrix Revolution, Speed Racer was decribed as being merely mediocre or even disappointing to others, I on the other hand, would beg to differ. However, having said that, i have never personally watched the former before, therefore have no idea how good it truly was. But i assumed it had to be extraordinarily good to have received the praises i heard. Nevertheless, even if compared to a praiseworthy movie such as The Matrix, i still maintain that Speed Racer was not given the credit it deserved. I have to admit that entering into the introduction of the movie, i was a little skeptical of the whole flying-vehicles futuristic world idea, especially as it was accompanied by the sleek and shiny costumes which made the entire cast seem like sausage casseroles walking around in aluminium foils. But moving on from there, slightly towards the middle of the story, when the races truly began, that was when the magic of the movie started drawing me in. From that point on, it was impossible not to be captivated by the brilliant colors of the race cars, or to get caught in the rush of the race.

In my opinion, the directors did a masterful job of creating each racing scene. Just the look of virtual cars defying the laws of gravity as each tore down the race tracks, trying to outrun their opponents, spiralling down sharp turns, looping round 360 degree turns on the roller coaster tracks, with the sounds of the racing cars ringing in your ears, is enough to fulfill any child’s wildest fantasies. All of these have proven to me that the Wachowski brothers have lived up to our expectations, that the visual techniques embedded in the movie were nothing short of genius.

The audience should not try to compare a movie such as Matrix with Speed Racer, as they are both clearly set in different genres and appeal to different people. The Matrix is leaning more towards the sci-fi action genre which involves lots of conflicts and combat scenes, whereas Speed Racer is merely just an adaptation of a children’s anime. Unlike Matrix, a movie such as this does not take a lot of brainpower to understand the progess of it. It only aimed at allowing the audience to have a good time, which the directors did superbly.

I was able to spot a few key elements in this movie which was crucial in determining its success. For the first element, which was having a character that the audience can believe in and sympathise with, was clearly portrayed through Speed. The audience would be able to identify with the inner conflicts he went through when he discovered that the Grand Prix was nothing more than a fixed race, and that all the past winners had been decided beforehand. This is clearly a reflection of reality, reminding the audience that at times, no matter how hard one tries to change the world for the better, there is only so much one can do, and that some things are just out of one’s hands to control.

The second element, which is the rise of an urgent and difficult problem, would most likely be, again, the part when Speed discovered the reality of the racing world, and strove to change it for the better. Moving on to the third element, which is the characters’ attempts to resolve the problem, which fail and make their situation more desperate, is clearly seen during the scene of the Casa Crista race. Speed Racer teamed up with Racer X and Taejo, in an attempt to convince Taejo to reveal the wrongdoings of Royalton. However, after having helped Taejo win the race, he in turn, went against his words and left Speed in a stage of betrayal and turmoil.

The fourth element, the arrival of the big crisis and their last chance to win, is obviously the last big race, the Grand Prix, in which Speed got the chance to race in and have a final chance of trying to change the corrupt world of racing. The last element of a successful movie, which is predictably, the successful resolution of the story, is identified with Speed’s victory in the Grand Prix. At the end of it, he had been able to prove that he was capable of changing the world he lived in and loved, which is the world of racing.

After watching Speed Racer, and having had a taste of what the Wachowski brothers were able to serve to the audience, let’s just say i would definitely be queuing up in line for their next movie.








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