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Speed Racer: A Truly Fun Family Film

John on May 10, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Maybe it’s that my expectations were so low after listening to some of the horrible reviews.

Maybe it’s that I’ve been a fan of the original since I was four years old.

Or maybe it’s the cold medicine I took this morning before taking my kids to the local multiplex.

But I thought Speed Racer was surprisingly good. Almost great. Honestly, I had as much fun at this film as I did at Iron Man.

My seven year old daughter, who has seen a bunch of the original show, had trouble following some of the plot, but laughed hysterically at all the Chim-Chim comic relief.

My four year old daughter, who I only took because she would have started a revolt if she’d been left at home, watched the entire 2 hour 10 minute film without complaining. Afterwards she told me the racing parts were great!

So, I don’t care if Rotten Tomatoes says this is a stinker at 35% fresh (but hey…the RT Community is giving it 73%). The critics are just wrong in this case and, I can only guess, are too old to enjoy something meant to simply be a fun fantasy.

My advice is ignore the paid critics. The Wachowski Brothers have made a really enjoyable family movie, full of amazing visuals and enough heart to make it all work. And it didn’t hurt that the film stayed true to the original show in lots of fun and surprising ways for us aging fans.

Seriously, this is not a clunker like The Flintstones or even the third Matrix film.

This works.

It’s fun.

Take the kids.

SCOTT ADDS: I agree with John!  My seven year old and I went with John and his two.  My son has a tough time sitting through any two hour film, so he was squirming after the first hour, but every time the racing sequences kicked in he stopped moving with his eyes glued to the big screen.

When John told me that Michael Medved said this movie was one of the worst films (if not THE worst film) he had ever seen, I was shocked!  My only conclusion was that Medved must have never watched the original series.  If he had, he would realize that the movie is an amazing transposition of a concept from small screen  anime to giant screen film adaption.  The car effects, the on-track racing, the cross-country racing through dangerous winding roads, the devilish racers with all sorts of evil gadgets aimed at taking out the other cars, Spridle and Chim Chim, etc.  They even worked in some piranha fish in one scene!  (Speed Racer was the show that introduced me and my friends to the idea of the flesh eating fish.  More than once our imaginary games included tanks of dangerous, hungry piranha that we had to navigate to get the bad guy and save the girl.)

The movie also included a good amount of positive life lessons related to family, loyalty, the dangers of greed, the nobility of sacrifice, etc.  As I watched the film I was reminded of the times I was younger and would watch the TV show with my friends and we would experience those same lessons on a much smaller scale.  Those same lessons were carried out into our playground exploits and into the rest of our lives.

I don’t care what the critics might be saying.  John is right – I enjoyed this film as much as I did IRON MAN, though maybe for different reasons.

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Category: Movies |

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