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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, May 11, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


READY SET GO! By John Grafman Speed Racer is not just an icon of a time where anything seemed possible, it also set fire to the soul of many who later became integral to the auto industry. The basis of the movie is, on the surface, rather simple - hurtling down the track, careening around, over and through the competition, Speed Racer is a natural behind the wheel. Born to race cars, Speed is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized-the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill.

This version of the story, however, is something much more. Based on the classic series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida, the live-action "Speed Racer" showcases the kind of revolutionary visual effects and cutting-edge storytelling that have become the benchmarks of the Wachowski brothers' films. As words don't really explain the overall dynamic, colorful, vivid and bright picture, it's best to say this isn't really like anything else. This is geared to the youth market (8-13 year olds), but the running time is far beyond what most kids are able to sit through. And for those that don't remember, Speed Racer did have a healthy helping of violence that was on par with the Road Runner cartoons. The updated version is not for the weak-kneed either. This movie is filled with established Hollywood talent along side some lesser-know actors. The list of celebrities include Emile Hirsch in the title role, Christina Ricci as Trixie, John Goodman as Pops Racer, Susan Sarandon as Mom, and Matthew Fox rounds out the leading roles as Racer X.

Some of the characters deviate from the past, such as Sparky developing an English accent (maybe to spur foreign box office numbers), and the Inspector becomes a less-towering figure, almost feme. Trixie, Speed's girlfriend, is a departure from year's gone bye. With the likes of Danica Patrick taking a first place recently, it is hard to portray females in subservient roles. So not only does Christina Ricci have sexual overtones, she also drives, and kicks some butt. My, times have changed. Speed Racer's unforgettable car, the Mach 5, continues to inspire all. The race car from the cartoon showcased numerous features that were decades ahead of their time. While some of the concepts are perhaps just a bit out-there, the others definitely have at least one foot planted in reality. The creative gadgets designed for the machines in this film might just be the hottest tickets found on tomorrow's cars. For the entire synopsis, photos, and trailer check out the official Warner Brothers site at

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