Four Ways of Looking at Speed Racer

Illustration for article titled Four Ways of Looking at Speed Racer

Speed Racer is a simple concept movie about futuristic cars which producer/director team the Wachowskis have managed to make almost as complicated as their Matrix trilogy. New clips from the film released yesterday take us deeper inside the visually bizarre world the Wachowskis built for this film, and what's becoming obvious is that Speed Racer isn't just CGI-for-CGI's-sake. We've got some clips that will make you think about Speed Racer in a whole new way.


In this scene, where Speed and his pals race through a geometrically-impossible "ice mountain," it's clear we're inside an artificial world where humans and machines have become interchangeable. Watching Speed and his car is like seeing the movie Tron from the point of view of one of the programs. Lights dance everywhere, nobody obeys the laws of physics, and the cutsey thrill of it reminded me of Mario Kart 64. This flick captures the fun of racing videogames better than many racing games themselves do.

There's a kind of Disney-cartoon surrealism here: every character is a caricature, and reality has been pared down to one astonishing idea, which is that Nascar has become both beautiful and the very center of all culture. I love the way Speed does something visually incomprehensible with his car (going behind a guy to make him swerve or something?) that the announcer greets with the shout, "Great move!"

Speed's racecar work-family is like something out of the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 2000s; meanwhile, the scene itself is a mashup of Grease and Power Puff Girls. What is happening here? What decade is it? Who has the freakin nerve to make a muscular, tough-guy thing like a race car out of shiny white and pretty, pyrotechnic fizz? You have to be seriously badass to do that, and the Wachowskis pull it off with glammy zeal.

Ninjas make everything better, as you can see in this scene where the guy being attacked by the ninja knows that first he should put a shiny scarf over his face to do his anti-ninja moves. When I saw this fight, I was finally sold on the movie. This really is The Matrix, except with a sense of humor this time around.

7 New Clips from Speed Racer [Collider]



WOW! So many film making trailblazers on IO9! I had no idea!

I would remind everyone taking pot shots at The Matrix that the Wachowskis created technologies from scratch which were unheard of at the time. True innovators. You may not agree with the storyline or the cardboard-ish Keanu, but you cannot deny their film making expertise.

I'm sure SR will be similar in effect.

Christ...hammering the Wachowskis and you haven't even seen the movie. You all must be freakin Einsteins of the cinema-set to lay down the smack like that. Or you are a bunch of loudmouthed loosers. One of those two.