As I was watching Speed Racer, I thought it was the best movie ever. All memories of Shoot 'Em Up, Toy Story 2, Labyrinth and others were overwhelmingly pushed out of my mind. They have since returned but still, there won't be a more visually stunning movie all year.
Speed Racer Review
The scenes look like cell animation with layers on top of layers, and they are so colorful. The physics of the races are magical, as are the track layouts. The elements of jumps, car attachments and using the environment are so awesome it's incredible. Speed Racer is like Jackie Chan on the road.
Speed Racer is not satisfied to just be a visual treat. It is a heartfelt story too. There are real themes including reputation, responsibility and legend. And that's what I read into it, beyond all the obvious family and integrity stuff. The acting makes it better than Star Wars, showing you can have wild visuals and still be real. They deliver the exposition as quickly as the cartoon, but without the accents.
The film respects kids to understand corporate backstories, dirty business, lawsuit summonses, company stock, evidence and conviction or discredit in the media. It is a visually demanding film, with flashbacks within flashbacks, but we totally get where we are. All the while it is still adorable, making ADD cute.
The film transitions from action to drama to sweet scenes so fast, the whole thing is a fast paced, edge of your seat thrill ride. This is the fastest, most furious movie of all time. It out-Pixars Cars and makes Cars look like Driven. It out-Matrixes The Matrix. This is the promise of great artists fulfilled.
I'm already anticipating the Speed Racer Blu Ray. Perhaps the corporate plot might not hold up as well on repeat viewing, and really the climax is not as awesome as the earlier Gran Prix, but there's more at stake, so it's one of those deals. It still rouses you to root for Speed Racer to win the race.