Any little boys who grew up with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars like I did probably played with them in three different ways. You could hurtle them across the kitchen floor like a game of marbles, crashing them in your own demolition derby. You could push them along all manner of terrain—across the floor, up the cabinets, under the toaster, down Mom's back, over the dog—while ignoring all laws of physics (hey, I was only 6). Or you'd buy one of those fantastic plastic race tracks that allowed you to configure loops for your car to build momentum before jumping the volcano and narrowly miss being eaten by the lava shark (it's all about the jump, not the realism).
All child's play, of course, and exactly the tone that the Wachowski Brothers seem to be going for in Speed Racer, their first movie since the glory and disappointment of The Matrix trilogy (though their influence as producers was deeply felt in V for Vendetta). Speed Racer is also intended to be their first family-friendly project in their spotty career, though it's more the sort of campy adaptation that only diehard fans can love.
And by fans, I'm not talking about Gen X-ers with fond memories of the stylish cartoon from the late '60s, self included. This movie is more for the 30-somethings who still live in their parents' basement and to this day revere Speed Racer's origins as Japanese manga and anime. Based on the cult classic, Speed Racer is best appreciated for its replication of style, since the story is thin enough to see through.
Our hero's real name is Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch of Into the Wild)—he's a member of the Racer family, an actual family of racers headed by Mom and Pops Racer (Susan Sarandon and John Goodman). As his name implies, ...1
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