Monday, May 12, 2008
Apparently I was the only one who thought Speed Racer looked kind of awesome. Too bad.
The movie is good. Not perfect -- it's unnecessarily long, has a few clunky moments and (almost literally) climaxes in an orgasmic, oddly messianic victory sequence that recalls Neo's moment of learning to see through the Matrix -- only even more overblown, if that is even possible. It's almost too abstract at times, and the action could be a bit easier to follow, but generally you can tell what's going on when it really counts. Overall, the Wachowskis are clearly as indulgent as ever, but the results are far better here than in their awful Matrix sequels.
It's dazzling, even overpowering. If you embrace the delirious excess of it all -- the impossible colors and the bombastic melodrama alike, it's great fun. And despite the feeling that certain scenes and the movie as a whole could and indeed should have been shorter, I wasn't ever actually bored. In a way, the running time befits the air of decadence that permeates everything about the movie.
It's times like this that make me feel like I don't understand the world. In my mind it's ridiculous that anyone could see anything as cool and insane as the Speed Racer trailer -- packed with crazy neon cars that spin and jump and drive sideways, anime motion effects and heightened everything -- and not instantly want to see that movie. I mean, technically I can understand it. People don't like things that are too weird or cheesy or stylized, even if it is intentional. Speed Racer is plainly insane, and for a lot people that's a turn-off. I can understand that. But I can't empathize with it.