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RE: Speed Racer - 16/5/2008 5:45:05 PM   
Filmfan 2


Posts: 1045
Joined: 30/9/2005
I'd say Empire hit the money with their rating for this.

It wasn't a film I was really intending on seeing (though I am a big Wachowski fan), but ending up doing so yesterday afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised.

It was an enjoyable film with some inventive racing sequences. Though bullet-time visuals may not pack the same punch as when the Wachowski's originally used them and created a thousand imitators, they do still get good use out of it by injecting it with a few fresh elements.

Some of the humour felt a little crowbarred (sp?) in at times, but I guess it's ultimately a family film and it wasn't too grating. Acting was fairly consistent, and John Goodman is always a pleasure to watch, but some of the characters felt a bit incidental or just plonked in to move the plot along/dispense fortune cookie wisdom.

A very distictive visual style definitely makes this unlike anything you'll see for a while.

3/5.


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Post #: 211
RE: Speed Racer - 16/5/2008 6:21:11 PM   
benmharper


Posts: 2234
Joined: 15/12/2005
From: Carlisle
Loved the races, didn't like the rest.

I thought the film started well with the race and the flashbacks then the talkie bits hit and i struggled to stay awake. I didn't think the plot was overly complicated or even too bad just the dialogue heavy scenes really dragged.

That said when the races started, i loved it, thought the look of the film was great.

The younger brother and the monkey were just annoying as f**k (god i hated them two) and some of the cast were underused (Ricci, Saradon).

Overall 3/5



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Post #: 212
RE: Speed Racer... - 16/5/2008 7:18:01 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mikey C

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314



And no, I won't disclose personal information over the internet, but I'll tell you that I'm old enough to hold a Ph.D, but not as old as Ebert. 


This is the best sentence max314 has come up with. It makes a simple statement of fact - Max is between the ages of 25 and 70 - into both a dig and a boast. But cleverly sort-of neither at the same time!


Fucking hell Mikey...  Are you ever going to just grow up and stop picking on me?

The whole "how old are you?" inquiry was obviously designed to be turned into anti-MAX ammunition if it turned out I was "too young" to have a valid opinion.  But being unwilling to disclose my age (sorry, I'm not one of those people who splatters my life all over MySpace) or be talked down to, I responded by saying that the enquirer should worry less about arbitrary personal attributes like my age, and worry more about the point at hand.

Something you might want to do sometime soon, Mikey.

quote:

It must be framed for future generations to marvel at 200 years from now when we live in a utopian society inspired directly by the seminal works of the Wachowskis, like Bill and Ted only with cross dressing. You're like John the Baptist -sorry - Morpheous.


Are you quite finished?

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

Very nice review Max, really well-written 

But one quick question - were you really ever going to give it any less than 5? I mean, did your preconceptions reflect the final score in any way? You signature has read "Official: Speed Racer Rocks!" for at least two months now...perhaps you had made (at least in part) up your mind already?


The "Speed Racer Rocks" comment in my sig was my genuine excitement at positive reactions from sources I trusted.  Turned out they were right.

But after the incredibly mixed reviews, I went in thinking it would probably end up being a 4-star movie at best.  What a pleasant surprise it was to find the film was about as perfect as one could imagine.

Yes, there have been complaints about the tone of the film and its use of humour.  But let's face it, these are highly subjective criticisms based more on peoples' personal tastes and whether or not they 'get' the style the film is going for, as opposed to actual flaws in the film's craftsmanship.  Which is damn near perfect, by the way.  I also don't relate to the criticism of the film being too long.  We've said again and again on this site in various threads that run time doesn't matter.  What matters is that one's interest is held throughout the duration of the entire film.  I knew that the Crucible race would take place at the film's midpoint from early reviews of the film, and when it finally got to that point, I was like "what...I've been sitting here for a whole hour?!".  The whole film feels like a 90-100 minute movie at most, since it just moves like anything.

And as for having my mind made up before the fact, the truth is that hyping a movie up in your head tends to actually kill the final experience.  The fact that it actually exceeded my expectations was the biggest joy for me, and it's not something you can "prepare" for.  Further, it would be a betrayal to the cinephile inside me to "decide" to like the movie no matter what.

I'm struggling to understand why certain people are insistent that I would praise the film no matter what.  I have anticipated other films in the past that I criticise readily, and I don't see why Speed Racer should be any different.  So I interpret such behaviour as an immature attempt to try and perhaps wind me up.  Which I actually find to be a source of personal amusement (and sometimes embarrassment) at seeing grown men and women engaging in such self-degrading practices.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mopictures

Okay, good review. But if it's gonna split the audience like a pizza-cutter, which side are you on?

By the way, I loved it. It's firmly in the category of "acquired taste" and one thing that must be said: A film this specific, this micro-directed, can only be 100% intentional. Everything in it is deliberate. It's not a question of trying to make a "good" film and getting it wrong with mistakes. Speed Racer isn't a mistake, they did it on purpose!

Five stars for being different from anything I've ever seen.


The Wachowskis are known for their insane attention to even the smallest details.  Like other seminal directors such as Ridley Scott, the Wachowskis seem to love to build worlds and enact a lot of their ideas through the visuals of the film.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Neth

Joel Silver has an ideology that every reel of an action-genre feature film should contain an explosion, a car chase, a fist fight or a shoot-out. It's a school of thought that is applied in spades to Speed Racer - you can set your watch by it, in fact. Unfortunately it does no favours to anyone, other than helping drive sales of Ritalin through the roof.


That's funny, because I don't actually recall any action scenes of note during the first half of the second act.

quote:

It's difficult to gauge who exactly Speed Racer is for. It's too talky and convuluted for pre-pubescent boys; it lacks any zing to attract teenagers; and adults will possibly find the hyperactive visuals a cause of headaches. The most likely answer is it's for the Wachowski Brothers themselves, as its self-indulgent streak is a mile wide.


That's funny, because I've heard a lot of positive reactions from general moviegoers (the few who have actually gone to see it).  Kids and adults alike.  The film has a sincerity and a heart that I think will appeal to most audiences.  In fact, the Cinema Score test screen rating, which was comprised of every age and gender demographic, pulled in a superlative A- rating.

I don't know exactly what you mean by "self-indulgent".  I like it when filmmakers are true to themselves and are true to the material, and stop at nothing to ensure that their vision is fully realised.  By your estimation, would you say that Blade Runner and 2001 were just as self-indulgent with their hyper attention to detail within a very specific vision of the material?

quote:

The visuals themselves are certainly not the proclaimed "reinvention of cinema" that some (Silver included) would like you to believe - unless cinema is being reinvented as a bog-standard PS3 future-racer. The wide angle shots of the impressive tracks look clumsily rendered - that said, when the camera gets up close and personal with the cars, the adrenaline begins to spike and a real sense of excitement sneaks in. It's during these moments that Speed Racer really takes off - sadly, it's all too soon before the handbrake is applied and it grinds to a halt again.


Except I do think that this film has reinvented the language of cinema.

The film is the literal manifestation of "live action anim" from start to finish.  The visual vocabulary employed by the film is totally unique (e.g. the mountain side fight, the cross-car conversation between Speed and Trixie that has the camera whip panning between them, etc), and this is not just referencing the way in which the action is filmed, which is jaw dropping in itself.

quote:

Story-wise, the film tries to over-complicate a simple tale of corporate greed versus family values. It's slightly ironic that there's a tangent against limitless spending to produce the goods at work here, given the film's reported $185m budget and the alleged failed efforts of Warner Bros execs to try and rein in some of the excess. The performances are all distinctly flat, with Emile Hirsch making a bland lead (surprising, given how likeable he's been in movies like The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Into the Wild) and Matthew Fox proving Seth Rogen's Knocked Up rant about him to be bang on the money. Elsewhere, Susan Sarandon has nothing to do  other than gasp and make sandwiches, whilst John Goodman tries hard to centre some humanity in this soulless mix. The horrendous on-the-nose dialogue of the script does little to help, and it's far too po-faced to possess a real sense of fun. Nobody appears to be enjoying themselves, save for the chimp.


Oh, I don't think that's the case at all.  Everyone seems to be having an absolutely great time!

There's a real family bond there, and it's that crucial component of the story and the performances that makes the races so exciting.  And the story itself is not complicated at all.  I'd be interested to know what you found complicated about it.

Yes, the dialogue is indeed on-the-nose, but that was kind of the whole point of it.  That was precisely the aesthetic of the cartoon, and it's faithfully replicated here.  And the most fascinating part is the fact that it actually works.

By the way, the final budget was about $100-120 million, with the additional money being spent on the film's marketing.

quote:

Yet it's a hard movie to dislike, let alone hate. It's the filmic equivalent of a naughty puppy that's chewed your shoes to shreds after you've taught it to fetch them for you - you're pissed off with it, but it's intentions were good all the same. Despite any believeable warmth or convincing emotion, Speed Racer doesn't have a mean bone in its body. In its final moments, it even manages a half-way passable job of convincing you that you even kinda liked it. Some judacious pruning and a truckload of script doctoring would have all but confirmed that.  **


Maybe you actually liked it but don't want to let it in because it wasn't cynical enough

quote:

ORIGINAL: O2PARISM

First off I have to point out that not everybody is going to approve of my review, Speed Racer is a movie that people will either love or loathe. If you loathe the film no doubt people will complain about the over the top acting, the cartoony look of the film, the campness, the cheesiness and loads of other things. No this is not the film everybody will go in expecting, but if you are like me you will be sucked into an incredible looking movie, with cool as hell race sequences, superb comedic timing and just a sense of fun unfortunately lacking in so many movies of late. I went into this movie with mixed feelings, sure the special effects looked great, but nothing else stood out, it all looked so force and just a but naff. And to be honest the movie is a bit naff, but its the naffness that makes it so brilliant. This is a living, breathing cartoon, nothing more nothing less. The Wachowski's (of Matrix fame) have given a cartoon background real actors. Surprisingly it works, sure some of the sets seem taken straight out of Cat in the Hat, but unlike that awful movie this works. Yet where the film really, really works is in the absolutely incredible race sequences. Words cannot express just how brilliant they are, the special effects in the trailer are a mere hint of what you see in the movie, the bright colours assault your eyeballs as the cars crash, jump, fight and practically dance all over the screen. The three major race sequences are incredible and the major reason why people should see this movie.


Quite right.

The film's style has been highly divisive ever since the first trailers hit the internet.  People were visibly split, and a lot of folks didn't know what to make of it.

The end result is a gorgeous gem of a movie that people may need a few more viewings to truly digest the sheer scope of the visual palette on display here.

quote:

ORIGINAL: sam89

I loved it.

An absolutely exhilarating film. To address the criticisms: I thought the plot was decent (what more could you expect in a Speed Racer film?), the film was never confusing and the human/family element of the story was excellent.

And then there's the action and style. It's not an overstatement to say the Wachowskis are ahead of their time. The action, visuals and editing style in this film are like nothing you've ever seen before. The end of the Grand Prix was just incredible.

It's a great shame this film isn't doing well at the box office (there were only 9 people in my screening). It's one of the most fun films I've seen in ages.

5 stars.


There ya go.  As soon as exams are over, I'm heading over to the IMAX for a second viewing

quote:

ORIGINAL: krudler



with those box office numbers? not.a.chance.


I know!  That's a huge shame, because as soon as the film finished I actually wanted to rewind it and watch it again!

There were a number of interesting character strands, such as Racer X, that were left dangling, which could have been taken up in a sequel.  Plus to have yet another film with that level of visual and emotional exhilaration would have been totally awesome.

Oh well.  I guess it'll have to resign to the place of "sequels that never were"

quote:

ORIGINAL: Stewie_Griffin

Max allthough i appauld your enthusiasm, I suspect you might actually be Joel Silver.


Don't think I don't see what you're doing.  You're calling me fat, aren't you?



The rest of the positive reviews here are rather encouraging.  Some 4 and 5 star reviews, as well as the more negative ones mixed in.  A divisive film if I ever saw one.


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to Mikey C)
Post #: 213
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 7:26:48 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

I just got back from New York where I saw this on opening day (first showing) for no other reason than it was raining.

I have to say....... it wasn't as bad as I had been lead to believe.

I kept waiting for the bit where it would become really, really shit but it never came.


Don't get me wrong, there were problems. The youngest brother was the most annoying child I've ever seen on film and I know he was supposed to be annoying but an annoying child is an annoying child, regardless of the motives. Also, using a monkey for laughs is surely one of the cheapest ways to get laughs. Maybe there was a monkey in the original but it was not needed here.


If it was trying to be faithful to the source material, then the monkey-child comedy team would be a required element.  Personally, I love it.  But I guess whether or not you like it will be down to personal preference.

quote:

The world is brilliantly realised and once you understand the anime roots of the series and the campy acting and story it works very well under its own terms.

The overlong explanation of the stock-market manipulation scam behind the races is out of place in a kids movie and feels like The Phantom Menace and it's trade dispute starting point (yeah, George, kids love stories about trade disputes!).


Did it?

I didn't think it was anywhere near as complicated as that.  For me, that sequence wasn't really about the content of the dialogue.  It was really about the full fury of Royalton's evil building into this overwhelming crescendo to scare the shit out of little kids.  And sneaked into that is the information about the stock market, whose understanding has no real bearing on the rest of the story.  Which is actually rather ingenious.

quote:

A big problem I had was that the races were all pretty much as good as each other. The last race wasn't that much better than the first one and the film didn't really build to a satisfying ending.


"Better" in what way?  I thought the final race took the film to its emotional and visual peek, which is exactly what you'd want from the climax of a racing film.

quote:

Also, Hirsch barely has anything to say in the film. He's the lead character but we don't really get a lot from him when he's not driving.


I didn't get that sense at all.

quote:

Another thing I learned from this film is that Susan Sarandon has still got it!

I don't ever want to see Speed Racer again and I think a sequel would be creatively pointless but I thought it was an ok way to get out of the driving New York rain for a couple of hours.

Did I mention I've just gotten back from New York?


So watching Speed Racer is better than being in a downpour?  Oh, I think it's a heckuva lot better than that.

quote:

Also, Max, come on! There is no way this is a 5 star film!


Sure it is.

quote:

You're running the risk of losing that last bit of credibility you have if you stand by that rating!


Haha...what possible "credibility" comes from being an anonymous cypher on the internet represented by nothing more than a 100 pixel avatar and an alphanumeric pseudonym?

I've never asked for "credibility" and I never will.  Whether or not people want to assign any to me is their judgement to make.  Personally, I don't really give a fuck one way or the other about such irrelevant, superficial things.  Even if you do

< Message edited by max314 -- 16/5/2008 7:34:15 PM >


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

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Post #: 214
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 8:40:57 PM   
krudler


Posts: 7018
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:


quote:

Also, Max, come on! There is no way this is a 5 star film!



Sure it is.


no it isnt, its 3 at the most, it wasnt as bad as i thought it was going to be but at no point during it did i find myself thinking "wow!" in the same way as say 300 or The Matrix or Sin City did at the visual aspect of it, the beginning of the Crucible race did look gorgeous though when the woman with the long scarf fired the starting pistol


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Squidward Hark Bugle

3D moving images are not films, they're holograms, and should be treated as a separate medium of storytelling, or artform.


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Post #: 215
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 9:24:08 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland
You say it's a divisive film, Max and you are right, it is. I think that you think it is a 50-50 split between people who love it and people who hate it. From the reviews I've seen, it's more like 90-10 in the favour of those that didn't like it and of the 10% of the people who do like it, very few are as ardent as you are.



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Post #: 216
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 9:29:23 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland
The biggest problem I had with the film was that there was nothing at stake in the races for anyone. I mean insofar as the races weren't dangerous. Everytime there was a crash you'd see a ball of gel with the driver in it bounce away to safety.

This stripped the races of tension for me. If they were going to survive the race no matter what, whats the point. All of the stunts are rendered meaningless as there is no risk.

I'm sure Max will have a reason as to why making the races perfectly safe made the film better but it didn't work for me.

< Message edited by Wilbert -- 16/5/2008 9:30:47 PM >


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Post #: 217
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 9:58:07 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

no it isnt, its 3 at the most, it wasnt as bad as i thought it was going to be but at no point during it did i find myself thinking "wow!" in the same way as say 300 or The Matrix or Sin City did at the visual aspect of it, the beginning of the Crucible race did look gorgeous though when the woman with the long scarf fired the starting pistol



I completely respect your experience of the film.

However, I had a completely different experience.

Firstly, unlike yourself, I didn't find myself thinking "wow!" during 300.  Most of my "wow" responses were directed at its trailers, but the end experience was ultimately underwhelming.  Neither was Sin City as "wow"-inducing as I'd hoped it would be.  Those are my experiences of those films.

Speed Racer, however, left me scraping my jaw off the floor during the race scenes, and wiping tears from my eyes (almost) during the tender family scenes.  The film zipped by in what felt like an hour, and by the end of the film I felt a sense of satisfaction I hadn't felt on leaving a cinema for many years.

Visually, technically, emotionally...  This film excelled in every possible aspect.

That was my experience of the film.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

You say it's a divisive film, Max and you are right, it is. I think that you think it is a 50-50 split between people who love it and people who hate it. From the reviews I've seen, it's more like 90-10 in the favour of those that didn't like it and of the 10% of the people who do like it, very few are as ardent as you are.


If you're talking about critical reviews, then yes, the response has been more negative than positive.  Given the film's stylistic bent was balancing on a knife's edge, it could just as easily have gone the other way, but it didn't.

But the audience response is quite different.  Whereas the critics' T-Meter over at Rotten Tomatoes is at 35% (which still includes a number of 4 and 5 star reviews), the RT community T-Meter is at a whopping 78%.  Heck, even you guys are admitting you liked the film...and your reservations could possibly be motivated by a need to save face

I don't know the last time the chasm between critical and mass acclaim was so wide (there are even huge chasms within the critical spectrum), and it seems that audiences responded to the film a lot better than critics.  But the views are nonetheless divisive no matter which data set you look at.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

The biggest problem I had with the film was that there was nothing at stake in the races for anyone. I mean insofar as the races weren't dangerous. Everytime there was a crash you'd see a ball of gel with the driver in it bounce away to safety.

This stripped the races of tension for me. If they were going to survive the race no matter what, whats the point. All of the stunts are rendered meaningless as there is no risk.

I'm sure Max will have a reason as to why making the races perfectly safe made the film better but it didn't work for me.


Are you really that lacking in confidence that you know you're wrong before I've even replied?

Hehe...no, the bubble thing doesn't make the film better or worse.  It's simply a design choice given the audience the film was aiming for.

With regards to tension, I don't think the threat of death needs to be the only source of tension in a film.  There are emotional stakes in each race, which is actually even more important than physical ones.  That's not to say that the characters don't brush up against the threat of death (e.g. the ninja attack, the menace of the locker room before the final race, etc), but I think it would be foolish to assume that the only source of tension in a scene comes from the threat of death.

The emotional stakes in the first race are all to do with Speed's brother.  What really caught me off guard about that race was how emotional it was.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  An "emotional action scene".  The emotional stakes during the Crucible are to take down Royalton before he has a chance to harm Speed's family, and he'll do this by ensuring that Taejo wins.  The final race is about Speed being dogged by stories of fixed races and seemingly perpetual betrayal.  His burning need to prove that he can win a race and that the Grand Prix really does mean something...even when it's been fixed so that every racer on the track is out to take him down to get their cash prizes from Royalton.

So no, I don't think the crash bubble gag means that there is no tension.  It's merely a design choice regarding the tone and audience of the film, and the real source of tension comes from the excellent writing of the Wachowski Brothers.

< Message edited by max314 -- 16/5/2008 10:07:09 PM >


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

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Post #: 218
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 10:09:49 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314

Are you really that lacking in confidence that you know you're wrong before I've even replied?

Hehe...no, the bubble thing doesn't make the film better or worse. It's simply a design choice given the audience the film was aiming for.

With regards to tension, I don't think the threat of death needs to be the only source of tension in a film. There are emotional stakes in each race, which is actually even more important than physical ones. That's not to say that the characters don't brush up against the threat of death (e.g. the ninja attack, the menace of the locker room before the final race, etc), but I think it would be foolish to assume that the only source of tension in a scene comes from the threat of death.

The emotional stakes in the first race are all to do with Speed's brother. What really caught me off guard about that race was how emotional it was. I wasn't expecting that at all. An "emotional action scene". The emotional stakes during the Crucible are to take down Royalton before he has a chance to harm Speed's family, and he'll do this by ensuring that Taejo wins. The final race is about Speed being dogged by stories of fixed races and seemingly perpetual betrayal. His burning need to prove that he can win a race and that the Grand Prix really does mean something...even when it's been fixed so that every racer on the track is out to take him down to get their cash prizes from Royalton.

So no, I don't think the crash bubble gag means that there is no tension. It's merely a design choice regarding the tone and audience of the film, and the real source of tension comes from the excellent writing of the Wachowski Brothers.



No Max, I'm not lacking in confidence.

I just think that the bubble thing means that there is no real doubt that the racers will survive the race. I'm not saying that racers should have been killed either. I just think by removing the image of the bubble bouncing away, you leave the possibility in the viewers mind that these are dangerous races. As it stands, the races are not dangerous and they should be.

I agree with you that the public has been kinder on the film than the critics. I liked the film a lot more than I thought I would. Like I say there was nothing truly awful in it (apart from the younger brother but I can see how kids would get a big kick out of him) but there was nothing truly great in it.

The critics have been way too harsh but I think you have been way too generous but each to their own and all that!

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Post #: 219
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 10:11:19 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314
real source of tension comes from the excellent writing of the Wachowski Brothers.


Well, they are "damn fine scribes".

Sorry, Max, I can't resist quoting that line whenever the opportunity arises!

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

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Post #: 220
RE: RE: - 16/5/2008 10:22:17 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

No Max, I'm not lacking in confidence.

I just think that the bubble thing means that there is no real doubt that the racers will survive the race. I'm not saying that racers should have been killed either. I just think by removing the image of the bubble bouncing away, you leave the possibility in the viewers mind that these are dangerous races. As it stands, the races are not dangerous and they should be.


In your opinion.  And I respect that.

But I think the bubble thing is a great gimmick, because it means that the wholesome, kid-friendly hero is never responsible for killing anyone.  Thus it's perfectly in keeping with the tone of the film.

quote:

I agree with you that the public has been kinder on the film than the critics. I liked the film a lot more than I thought I would. Like I say there was nothing truly awful in it (apart from the younger brother but I can see how kids would get a big kick out of him) but there was nothing truly great in it.

The critics have been way too harsh but I think you have been way too generous but each to their own and all that!


Each to their own indeed

Hey, I liked the Spritle character!  Honestly, when I saw the first promo pictures I was convinced that he was gonna bug the shit outta me (part of the reason I anticipated no higher than a 4 star experience), but to my surprise that little kid has got some serious acting chops on him!  He's got a definite confidence and his comic timing is bang on.  Kinda like a fat, funny, male version of Dakota Fanning a couple of years back

quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

Well, they are "damn fine scribes".


That they are

quote:

Sorry, Max, I can't resist quoting that line whenever the opportunity arises!


No, please don't resist!  Let it in!

The guys have not only shown that they're able to write for a wide variety of genres (crime, sci-fi thriller, sci-fi epic, political thriller, family films), but that they are able to bring a new and/or interesting angle to the table every single time.

Damn fine scribes indeed


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 221
RE: RE: - 17/5/2008 12:38:56 PM   
simonmckergan1


Posts: 1266
Joined: 8/11/2005
From: Belfast
Max the child is the worst thing in that film.  Mugging to the camera does not make him a child Brando.Funny?  I kept wishing the fat annoying little shit would die! 

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As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!

(in reply to max314)
Post #: 222
RE: RE: - 17/5/2008 3:15:54 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: simonmckergan1

Max the child is the worst thing in that film.  Mugging to the camera does not make him a child Brando.Funny?  I kept wishing the fat annoying little shit would die! 


Different strokes, I guess


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to simonmckergan1)
Post #: 223
RE: RE: - 17/5/2008 3:50:33 PM   
mustbebunnies


Posts: 576
Joined: 6/11/2005
From: in a glass cage of emotion
dont see it with a hangover, thats my advice...

That being said I did enjoy it. I would in no way say its a masterpiece, but was a perfectly good way to while away a saturday afternoon. I do agree that the plot was a little confusing, although i'm not sure why- I think I may have been too busy looking at the pretty pictures on screen to be concentrating too much.. In then end, for me there just felt like there was something missing from it, and I think that may have been the meshing of script and visuals as most people have said-it just didnt fit perfectly for me.

That bein said, I'm a sucker for a comedy monkey..

(in reply to max314)
Post #: 224
No Speed Racer No! - 18/5/2008 3:19:21 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
I must admit that I hadn't planned to see this film but the lively debate on here tempted me to see it yesterday.  It's difficult to know where to start when trying to sum up a film like this.  Oridnarily, I would start with the acting but clearly in this film acting, plot and dialogue are secondary to visual spectacle so it's there that I should start.

Visually, this film is, for the most part, impressive.  The opening race is particularly spectacular with Speed racing the Ghost of Rex.  However, I do think that this is visually the movie's best moment and the other races don't quite live up to this.  Whilst the style works for the races, I don't think that the same style translates well to this non-race sequences.  The costume design of everyone dressed in large blocks of primary colour is jarring and the set design and style reminded me of a Hanna Barbera or Nickelodeon cartoon but that style of delivery didn't match the content and therefore, it felt wrong, almost anachronistic.

However, whilst the race visuals carry the film, the main problem this film has is that it falls into the trap of not knowing whether it wants to be for adults and for kids and ends up falling between two stools.  Often this manifests itself in what I would refer to as "Spiderman 3 Syndrome".  Both in Speed Racer and Spiderman 3, the audience is left with a see-saw effect as the filmmakers seek to balance out the competing interests of the young and the more mature - in Spiderman 3 this manifested itself in 20 mins of emotional storytelling followed by 20 mins of Emo Pete to appease the younger members, in Speed Racer this is typified by 20 mins of chat about race fixing and corporate spiel followed by Spritel and the chimp (more of which later) running across the screen and joyriding a mini-train.  This makes the film feel extremely uneven and the tone of the film feels undeveloped as a result.    This also has an effect on pace as the "kid-friendly" moments take place at a significantly faster pace than the exposition and as a result the audience is dropped with a massive clunk in the second act as the pace becomes glacial as the storytelling tries to take hold.  Is it for kids or for adults?  The result, in my opinion, is that it never satisfies either.

As for the plot, I can't say that I found it particularly easy to follow and this is from someone whose job involves corporate and financial transactions and should, therefore, have a handle on the concepts put forward but frankly, there was far too much exposition and clunky dialogue.  Frankly, I have no idea how an 8-10 year old is supposed to get anything at all from these scenes.  It is also far too long and feels its length and I can't help but feel that if Speed Racer had gone totally down either the kid movie route or the adult route, this would have cut 20-30 mins from the run time which the film would have benefitted greatly from.  However, the biggest let-down of this film is the dialogue which at times sounds like it has been cribbed from a motivational self-help book but with comedy last seen 20 years ago down the end of a Blackpool pier.  I felt truly sorry for the actors having to spout the babble put in front of them.

* breaks for an unnecessary anime sequence with a chimp and a fat kid attempting karate before descending into poo-flinging *

To the acting, which despite the awful dialogue, is not bad.  I have a lot of time for Emile Hirsch as a developing young actor.  He has the potential to be the next Tom Cruise and this film could be his Days of Thunder.  He does the earnest young racer well and copes with the physicality the role requires.  Susan Sarandon and John Goodman coast somewhat but handle the emotional stuff well and Roger Alam (who was also very good in a similarly evil role in V For Vendetta and who, as I have seen on stage, is a very competent comedic performer) chews up the CGI scenery well as the baddie of the piece.  However, words cannot describe how much I hated the kid and chimp routine.  Hideously annoying and overacted by the kid, whilst even PG Tips have realised that a chimp interacting with humans (or acting human-like) is a cheap way to get a laugh and has had its day.  Similarly, Christina Ricci annoyed me as she appeared to be a void without nothing to do but say "cool beans" in a Tourettes-like manner (think almost the "Timmeh" character is South Park without the strength of delivery).

So, all in all, not a positive experience for me 5/10 (or 2/5 - it was a low 5 and I can't justify giving this 3 stars) mostly for the visuals in the race sequences but frankly, I'd have rather watched 2 and a quarter hours of Wacky Races cartoons - more fun, better dialogue and less predictable finale.

< Message edited by Groovy Mule -- 18/5/2008 3:24:48 PM >


_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/
Post #: 225
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 18/5/2008 7:30:59 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield

After the lively debate here on Empireonline, my mind was changed from one of reluctant ambivalence about this, going simply because my son went mad when he saw the trailer, to one of quiet interest to see what the the fuss (both negative and positive) was all about. I was going in aware of the sort of psychedelic all-out experience much talked about; the 'live anime' style the Wachowskis were going for. The racing scenes are, quite simply, outstanding. They put you right into the action, above the action, below it, inside it - you are in the race. This film really deserves a 3D treatment. There are four major race scenes, and they're all exhilarating. The style of the film suits the racing scenes perfectly.

Sadly, that's pretty much all that the film has going for it. Here's a quote from lil Homer (aged 5) 20 minutes or so into the film. "Can we go home now?" Yup, he was bored stiff. The story itself is really quite simple. Simplistic almost. Yet even such a simple story is handled in a such a hamfisted way that it appears overly complex. One begins to wonder if perhaps The Matrix is victim to this simple-disguised-as-complex style of direction. The opening race scene, visually stunning as it is, purpotedly shot through with emotion, is a muddled mess of a race. The flicking between Speed racing as an adult, and Speed as a child watching his brother race is messy. If ever a film appeared to be like a video game, it is here, as the ghost of his brother is ahead of him. I was unsure whether it was in Speed's imagination, or whether it was a real holographic projection so the crowds could see how close Speed was to breaking the record, which happened to be won by Rex, his brother. And that's just one small example of the unintentional confusion.

Between the excellent race scenes are some poorly-handled, badly-scripted, atrociously-acted dialogue-led scenes. I can excuse poorly-directed scenes, dodgy scripts, and questionable acting if the overall effect of the scene in question is to transmit to the audience some sense of fun. Or at least the primary emotion intended for the scene. In Transformers we have similarly poorly-directed scenes with poor scripts and acting, but the overall effect works - it's fun. This ends up being soulless and vapid. It's like the Wachowskis took a perfectly good idea and sucked all the fun out of it.

Speaking of 'fun', one might argue that Speed's younger brother and his pet chimp are there for comic relief. (Why else include a chimp, I wonder?) Not so. As has been commented on, Spinkle, or whatever the hell the kid's name was even more annoying as a child actor than Jake Lloyd. Yes, I can forgive a 'yippee' before I can forgive the screwed-up 'attitude' this kid had perma-fixed on his face. "Oh, but he's there for the children" the supporters retort. Not so. I asked my son if the kid and the chimp were funny or annoying. He (who let me remind you all is 5, and at the height of finding anthropormophised animals amusing) said they were annoying. He even gave an example - when they were raiding the fridge of sweets.

The acting in general was pretty poor. Even if the style of film was meant to have poor acting, the soullessness of it all made it a lot worse. I'm going to go out on a limb and blame it on the direction. Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Christina Ricci - these are all good actors. Yet here, the Wachowskis manage to show their worst features. Sarandon seems to spend the whole thing screaming, crying, laughing, or making PB&J sandwiches. Ricci seems to be there for a bit of eye candy (which, I'll admit, I'm not complaining about). Hirsch gets little to do, and the edits are so short any sense of continuous acting is lost. Goodman gets the most to do, and probably comes off the best. The rest of the cast are pretty atrocious. Sparks looks like some relative of Ron Howard (looks a bit like Clint Howard, and maybe is for all I know). Royalton is possibly the worst villain, coming off all pantomimey (no doubt 'intentional'), and not in a good way because, above all else, pantomimes are fun. There's that word again, and it's something that is lacking throughout this film.

The whole film just seems to have horridly missed the mark. The scenes with Sprinkle, or whoever, and his pet chimp are some of the worst (and not to mention unnecessary) scenes I've sat through. The second time my son asked to leave I was sorely tempted to acquiesce to his demand, except for the fact that I wanted to have a fully informed valid opinion, and anyway - something mind-blowing might have happened later. (Spoiler: It didn't.)

I could go in this manner, but I won't. Needless to say, I am doubly disappointed with this film. First of all, I dislike being disappointed in films - I love cinema, in all its mad diversity, and such a new style could have been wonderful if it had had a soul.  Secondly, it was the first time my son has come away disappointed in a film. When Pix asked him how it was when we got home, he simply said, "fine". On the plus side, at least he has some level of taste!

The Acting - 1/10: The one is for John Goodman.
The Sound - 5/10: The sound was pretty good. The music was fairly forgettable, but the racing effects were good.
The Directing - 2/10: Really, the dullness of the dialogue-led scenes more than damaged the effect of the racing scenes. So much so that even with the promise of more racing scenes, the dialogue scenes were enough to make a 5 yr old want to leave. That speaks volumes.
The Story - 3/10: An interesting enough story ruined by a poor execution.
Success of Intent - 2/10: If it fails to grab adult and child alike, a film is failing on a very basic level.
Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 226
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 18/5/2008 8:21:54 PM   
simonmckergan1


Posts: 1266
Joined: 8/11/2005
From: Belfast
Spot on review, Homer.

_____________________________

As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 227
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 18/5/2008 9:38:47 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq


After the lively debate here on Empireonline, my mind was changed from one of reluctant ambivalence about this, going simply because my son went mad when he saw the trailer, to one of quiet interest to see what the the fuss (both negative and positive) was all about. I was going in aware of the sort of psychedelic all-out experience much talked about; the 'live anime' style the Wachowskis were going for. The racing scenes are, quite simply, outstanding. They put you right into the action, above the action, below it, inside it - you are in the race. This film really deserves a 3D treatment. There are four major race scenes, and they're all exhilarating. The style of the film suits the racing scenes perfectly.

Sadly, that's pretty much all that the film has going for it. Here's a quote from lil Homer (aged 5) 20 minutes or so into the film. "Can we go home now?" Yup, he was bored stiff. The story itself is really quite simple. Simplistic almost. Yet even such a simple story is handled in a such a hamfisted way that it appears overly complex. One begins to wonder if perhaps The Matrix is victim to this simple-disguised-as-complex style of direction. The opening race scene, visually stunning as it is, purpotedly shot through with emotion, is a muddled mess of a race. The flicking between Speed racing as an adult, and Speed as a child watching his brother race is messy. If ever a film appeared to be like a video game, it is here, as the ghost of his brother is ahead of him. I was unsure whether it was in Speed's imagination, or whether it was a real holographic projection so the crowds could see how close Speed was to breaking the record, which happened to be won by Rex, his brother. And that's just one small example of the unintentional confusion.

Between the excellent race scenes are some poorly-handled, badly-scripted, atrociously-acted dialogue-led scenes. I can excuse poorly-directed scenes, dodgy scripts, and questionable acting if the overall effect of the scene in question is to transmit to the audience some sense of fun. Or at least the primary emotion intended for the scene. In Transformers we have similarly poorly-directed scenes with poor scripts and acting, but the overall effect works - it's fun. This ends up being soulless and vapid. It's like the Wachowskis took a perfectly good idea and sucked all the fun out of it.

Speaking of 'fun', one might argue that Speed's younger brother and his pet chimp are there for comic relief. (Why else include a chimp, I wonder?) Not so. As has been commented on, Spinkle, or whatever the hell the kid's name was even more annoying as a child actor than Jake Lloyd. Yes, I can forgive a 'yippee' before I can forgive the screwed-up 'attitude' this kid had perma-fixed on his face. "Oh, but he's there for the children" the supporters retort. Not so. I asked my son if the kid and the chimp were funny or annoying. He (who let me remind you all is 5, and at the height of finding anthropormophised animals amusing) said they were annoying. He even gave an example - when they were raiding the fridge of sweets.

The acting in general was pretty poor. Even if the style of film was meant to have poor acting, the soullessness of it all made it a lot worse. I'm going to go out on a limb and blame it on the direction. Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Christina Ricci - these are all good actors. Yet here, the Wachowskis manage to show their worst features. Sarandon seems to spend the whole thing screaming, crying, laughing, or making PB&J sandwiches. Ricci seems to be there for a bit of eye candy (which, I'll admit, I'm not complaining about). Hirsch gets little to do, and the edits are so short any sense of continuous acting is lost. Goodman gets the most to do, and probably comes off the best. The rest of the cast are pretty atrocious. Sparks looks like some relative of Ron Howard (looks a bit like Clint Howard, and maybe is for all I know). Royalton is possibly the worst villain, coming off all pantomimey (no doubt 'intentional'), and not in a good way because, above all else, pantomimes are fun. There's that word again, and it's something that is lacking throughout this film.

The whole film just seems to have horridly missed the mark. The scenes with Sprinkle, or whoever, and his pet chimp are some of the worst (and not to mention unnecessary) scenes I've sat through. The second time my son asked to leave I was sorely tempted to acquiesce to his demand, except for the fact that I wanted to have a fully informed valid opinion, and anyway - something mind-blowing might have happened later. (Spoiler: It didn't.)

I could go in this manner, but I won't. Needless to say, I am doubly disappointed with this film. First of all, I dislike being disappointed in films - I love cinema, in all its mad diversity, and such a new style could have been wonderful if it had had a soul.  Secondly, it was the first time my son has come away disappointed in a film. When Pix asked him how it was when we got home, he simply said, "fine". On the plus side, at least he has some level of taste!

The Acting - 1/10: The one is for John Goodman.
The Sound - 5/10: The sound was pretty good. The music was fairly forgettable, but the racing effects were good.
The Directing - 2/10: Really, the dullness of the dialogue-led scenes more than damaged the effect of the racing scenes. So much so that even with the promise of more racing scenes, the dialogue scenes were enough to make a 5 yr old want to leave. That speaks volumes.
The Story - 3/10: An interesting enough story ruined by a poor execution.
Success of Intent - 2/10: If it fails to grab adult and child alike, a film is failing on a very basic level.
Overall - 13/50, or:
26%



As you will have seen with my review above yours, I pretty much agree with you although I am prepared to give the actors more credit.

Ultimately though, I think you are right the failings of this film sit with the direction and the writing, both of which are very weak.

_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 228
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 12:44:51 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: cdjwfan

I already went to the Speed Racer post and Max hadn't replied for two days so don't lock me just yet for doubling up.

I was completely wrong about Speed Racer. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. I have been cynical about Speed Racer in that it looked like it might give someone epilepsy, and have even gone so far as to ask Max314 whether he was being paid by Warner to advertise for the film. I did say, however that I would see the film and would apologize openly on the forum if it was good.
So here it is: I was totally wrong and I'm sorry. There. It was brilliant in my opinion, and evoked exactly the childhood memories that it was designed to, I'm sure. Surely better than Iron Man.

Source


No man, don't apologise.  You saw the trailers and didn't like what you saw at first instance.  You formed a level of anticipation from those trailers (which is what you're supposed to do), and that level of anticipation simply wasn't very high.  That's fair enough.

But you liked the film, and I'm glad that you did.  'Nuff said

PS
And I haven't replied for a while because I've been very busy with exams and I may have missed your post.  I'm going to have to be quick today as well since I have a paper on Wednesday and another on Thursday.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Groovy Mule

I must admit that I hadn't planned to see this film but the lively debate on here tempted me to see it yesterday.  It's difficult to know where to start when trying to sum up a film like this.  Oridnarily, I would start with the acting but clearly in this film acting, plot and dialogue are secondary to visual spectacle so it's there that I should start.

Visually, this film is, for the most part, impressive.  The opening race is particularly spectacular with Speed racing the Ghost of Rex.  However, I do think that this is visually the movie's best moment and the other races don't quite live up to this.  Whilst the style works for the races, I don't think that the same style translates well to this non-race sequences.  The costume design of everyone dressed in large blocks of primary colour is jarring and the set design and style reminded me of a Hanna Barbera or Nickelodeon cartoon but that style of delivery didn't match the content and therefore, it felt wrong, almost anachronistic.


I thought the whacky colour palette worked perfectly for the film.  And I thought each race had its own set of involving dramatic elements that made them work alongside the visuals.

quote:

However, whilst the race visuals carry the film, the main problem this film has is that it falls into the trap of not knowing whether it wants to be for adults and for kids and ends up falling between two stools.  Often this manifests itself in what I would refer to as "Spiderman 3 Syndrome".  Both in Speed Racer and Spiderman 3, the audience is left with a see-saw effect as the filmmakers seek to balance out the competing interests of the young and the more mature - in Spiderman 3 this manifested itself in 20 mins of emotional storytelling followed by 20 mins of Emo Pete to appease the younger members, in Speed Racer this is typified by 20 mins of chat about race fixing and corporate spiel followed by Spritel and the chimp (more of which later) running across the screen and joyriding a mini-train.  This makes the film feel extremely uneven and the tone of the film feels undeveloped as a result.    This also has an effect on pace as the "kid-friendly" moments take place at a significantly faster pace than the exposition and as a result the audience is dropped with a massive clunk in the second act as the pace becomes glacial as the storytelling tries to take hold.  Is it for kids or for adults?  The result, in my opinion, is that it never satisfies either.


The reason that the "corporate spiel" actually works is because there is a sense of conflict underneath it.  That sense of temptation and watching the cogs in Speed's brain begin to tick as he makes his decision and the primary source of antagonism (Royalton) is properly established.

quote:

As for the plot, I can't say that I found it particularly easy to follow and this is from someone whose job involves corporate and financial transactions and should, therefore, have a handle on the concepts put forward but frankly, there was far too much exposition and clunky dialogue.  Frankly, I have no idea how an 8-10 year old is supposed to get anything at all from these scenes.  It is also far too long and feels its length and I can't help but feel that if Speed Racer had gone totally down either the kid movie route or the adult route, this would have cut 20-30 mins from the run time which the film would have benefitted greatly from.  However, the biggest let-down of this film is the dialogue which at times sounds like it has been cribbed from a motivational self-help book but with comedy last seen 20 years ago down the end of a Blackpool pier.  I felt truly sorry for the actors having to spout the babble put in front of them.


Again, the dialogue worked because there was a genuine conflict at the center of it.  I didn't feel it drag at all, nor do I remember the plot being in any way complex.

quote:

* breaks for an unnecessary anime sequence with a chimp and a fat kid attempting karate before descending into poo-flinging *




quote:

To the acting, which despite the awful dialogue, is not bad.  I have a lot of time for Emile Hirsch as a developing young actor.  He has the potential to be the next Tom Cruise and this film could be his Days of Thunder.  He does the earnest young racer well and copes with the physicality the role requires.  Susan Sarandon and John Goodman coast somewhat but handle the emotional stuff well and Roger Alam (who was also very good in a similarly evil role in V For Vendetta and who, as I have seen on stage, is a very competent comedic performer) chews up the CGI scenery well as the baddie of the piece.  However, words cannot describe how much I hated the kid and chimp routine.  Hideously annoying and overacted by the kid, whilst even PG Tips have realised that a chimp interacting with humans (or acting human-like) is a cheap way to get a laugh and has had its day.  Similarly, Christina Ricci annoyed me as she appeared to be a void without nothing to do but say "cool beans" in a Tourettes-like manner (think almost the "Timmeh" character is South Park without the strength of delivery).


Well, I guess the line between what one person finds annoying and another person finds genuinely amusing or entertaining is determined by personal preference.  I happened to like it.

quote:

So, all in all, not a positive experience for me 5/10 (or 2/5 - it was a low 5 and I can't justify giving this 3 stars) mostly for the visuals in the race sequences but frankly, I'd have rather watched 2 and a quarter hours of Wacky Races cartoons - more fun, better dialogue and less predictable finale.


Well, that's unfortunate.  But hey, at least you gave it a shot.

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

After the lively debate here on Empireonline, my mind was changed from one of reluctant ambivalence about this, going simply because my son went mad when he saw the trailer, to one of quiet interest to see what the the fuss (both negative and positive) was all about. I was going in aware of the sort of psychedelic all-out experience much talked about; the 'live anime' style the Wachowskis were going for. The racing scenes are, quite simply, outstanding. They put you right into the action, above the action, below it, inside it - you are in the race. This film really deserves a 3D treatment. There are four major race scenes, and they're all exhilarating. The style of the film suits the racing scenes perfectly.


And it's all downhill from here...

quote:

Sadly, that's pretty much all that the film has going for it. Here's a quote from lil Homer (aged 5) 20 minutes or so into the film. "Can we go home now?" Yup, he was bored stiff. The story itself is really quite simple. Simplistic almost. Yet even such a simple story is handled in a such a hamfisted way that it appears overly complex. One begins to wonder if perhaps The Matrix is victim to this simple-disguised-as-complex style of direction. The opening race scene, visually stunning as it is, purpotedly shot through with emotion, is a muddled mess of a race. The flicking between Speed racing as an adult, and Speed as a child watching his brother race is messy. If ever a film appeared to be like a video game, it is here, as the ghost of his brother is ahead of him. I was unsure whether it was in Speed's imagination, or whether it was a real holographic projection so the crowds could see how close Speed was to breaking the record, which happened to be won by Rex, his brother. And that's just one small example of the unintentional confusion.


It was in Speed's head.

And using that video game vocabulary - that gamers would understand as a second language - in order to create a genuinely emotional sequence was really rather impressive.

That whole opening sequence was fantastic.  And I'm sorry your kid was bored, because the ones at my screening seemed to be loving it.

quote:

Between the excellent race scenes are some poorly-handled, badly-scripted, atrociously-acted dialogue-led scenes. I can excuse poorly-directed scenes, dodgy scripts, and questionable acting if the overall effect of the scene in question is to transmit to the audience some sense of fun. Or at least the primary emotion intended for the scene. In Transformers we have similarly poorly-directed scenes with poor scripts and acting, but the overall effect works - it's fun. This ends up being soulless and vapid. It's like the Wachowskis took a perfectly good idea and sucked all the fun out of it.


The dialogue scenes in Transformers weren't being "fun".  They were being "funny".  There's a difference.

There were humerous moments in Speed Racer as well, but the main dialogue scenes actually carried more of a sense of drama, tension, wonder and excitement than anything in Transformers without having to resort to cheap onanistic jokes to keep a scene alive.  The intercutting with Chim Chim and Spritle was a little bit different, since they were designated the official role of comic relief mascots, and they're a part of the tapestry of the Speed Racer universe.

quote:

Speaking of 'fun', one might argue that Speed's younger brother and his pet chimp are there for comic relief. (Why else include a chimp, I wonder?) Not so. As has been commented on, Spinkle, or whatever the hell the kid's name was even more annoying as a child actor than Jake Lloyd. Yes, I can forgive a 'yippee' before I can forgive the screwed-up 'attitude' this kid had perma-fixed on his face. "Oh, but he's there for the children" the supporters retort. Not so. I asked my son if the kid and the chimp were funny or annoying. He (who let me remind you all is 5, and at the height of finding anthropormophised animals amusing) said they were annoying. He even gave an example - when they were raiding the fridge of sweets.


Well, how do we know you weren't leading him with your questions?

Chim Chim and Spritle actually made me laugh, and there were people laughing around me as well.  I'd say it worked, although humour is a very subjective thing and probably won't work for everyone.

quote:

The acting in general was pretty poor. Even if the style of film was meant to have poor acting, the soullessness of it all made it a lot worse. I'm going to go out on a limb and blame it on the direction. Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Christina Ricci - these are all good actors. Yet here, the Wachowskis manage to show their worst features. Sarandon seems to spend the whole thing screaming, crying, laughing, or making PB&J sandwiches. Ricci seems to be there for a bit of eye candy (which, I'll admit, I'm not complaining about). Hirsch gets little to do, and the edits are so short any sense of continuous acting is lost. Goodman gets the most to do, and probably comes off the best. The rest of the cast are pretty atrocious. Sparks looks like some relative of Ron Howard (looks a bit like Clint Howard, and maybe is for all I know). Royalton is possibly the worst villain, coming off all pantomimey (no doubt 'intentional'), and not in a good way because, above all else, pantomimes are fun. There's that word again, and it's something that is lacking throughout this film.


I have to disagree with you again.

The roles were inherently simple and "cartoony" in nature, and yet there was a genuine heart to the performances on screen.

Again, it seems this is highly subjective, and I suppose it just depends on what works for you.

quote:

The whole film just seems to have horridly missed the mark. The scenes with Sprinkle, or whoever, and his pet chimp are some of the worst (and not to mention unnecessary) scenes I've sat through. The second time my son asked to leave I was sorely tempted to acquiesce to his demand, except for the fact that I wanted to have a fully informed valid opinion, and anyway - something mind-blowing might have happened later. (Spoiler: It didn't.)

I could go in this manner, but I won't. Needless to say, I am doubly disappointed with this film. First of all, I dislike being disappointed in films - I love cinema, in all its mad diversity, and such a new style could have been wonderful if it had had a soul.  Secondly, it was the first time my son has come away disappointed in a film. When Pix asked him how it was when we got home, he simply said, "fine". On the plus side, at least he has some level of taste!


Or maybe he's just inherited dad's

quote:

The Acting - 1/10: The one is for John Goodman.


Disagree.

They were all great.  Particularly Porter and Fox as Rex and Racer X respectively.  And Hirsch's tone and genuine emotionality was bang on.  And Sarandon provided a really great heart to the movie.

quote:

The Sound - 5/10: The sound was pretty good. The music was fairly forgettable, but the racing effects were good.


I thought Giacchino's score was varied and emotional, and a return to the sort of iconic theme-based scores of the '70s and '80s.

And the sound effects were great, too.

quote:

The Directing - 2/10: Really, the dullness of the dialogue-led scenes more than damaged the effect of the racing scenes. So much so that even with the promise of more racing scenes, the dialogue scenes were enough to make a 5 yr old want to leave. That speaks volumes.


Enough to make your five year old want to leave

I was aware that the Crucible race was supposed to take place half way through the film (i.e. about an hour in).  Honestly, when that race started I thought I'd only been sitting there for 20-30 minutes.

The whole film just zipped by in what felt like an hour and ten minutes.

quote:

The Story - 3/10: An interesting enough story ruined by a poor execution.


Disagree.

From the emotional opening, through to the spectacular Crucible portion, and over the finish line...the story is an exhilarating thrill ride from start to finish.

quote:

Success of Intent - 2/10: If it fails to grab adult and child alike, a film is failing on a very basic level.


Again, I have to disagree.

I know what the Wachowskis set out to do, and I think they succeeded immensely.  The (admittedly small) crowd around me seemed to agree.  And so too do a lot of audiences on RT.

The Wachowskis created yet a new form of visual storytelling.

quote:

Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


Harsh.  Wrong.  Preposterous.

But I respect your opinion, and respect the fact you took the time out to write a detailed review


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 229
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 6:29:20 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
They can keep their form of storytelling then.

If you respect my opinion, why do you say it is 'wrong'. I agree it is harsh - it needed to be. Preposterous? Well, that's your opinion. But neither of us are 'right' or 'wrong'. We just disagree on a very, very basic level. Using 'video game language' is all well and good for video-gamers, but hey! We're in a cinema! Let's use cinematic language that, wait a sec, cinema-goers will understand as a second language! My son (I don't own any baby goats...) wasn't bored by the opening race. He was bored by the meaningless crap that followed it. This is a child who watches Power Rangers for crying out loud! In fact, hell - I find Power Rangers more exciting and believable than this! And I hate the Power Rangers.

quote:

Enough to make your five year old want to leave

Well, that's being silly. I can make the exact same counter-argument to your arguments.
quote:

Chim Chim and Spritle actually made me laugh, and there were people laughing around me as well.

Yes, the people around you were laughing....

See? Exact same 'argument' that proves nothing.

And re accusing me of leading my son's questioning, I thought you might say that, so I specifically (not that you can prove it of course) asked the question in as neutral a voice as possible. I didn't say, "were they fun or annoying?", I levelled my voice so he couldn't tell what I thought.

The one thing you say was present is the one thing that I found missing. 'Genuine heart'. It would seem that, in the lead up to the new Indiana Jones film, Mola Ram is about, plucking out hearts from other films willy nilly!


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(in reply to max314)
Post #: 230
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 6:37:14 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
ine heart'. It would seem that, in the lead up to the new Indiana Jones film, Mola Ram is about, plucking out hearts from other films willy nilly!



I told you not to call me that!!!


You're wasting your time Homer. Max is incapable of being objective about his beloved Wachowskis.

The fact that he referred to the positive reviews on RT without saying that those positive reviews are massively outnumbered by bad reviews is proof of that.

Speed Racer could have driven those races in the 3-wheeled van from Only Fools and Horses and Max would have declared it genius!

_____________________________

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Post #: 231
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 6:43:53 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23685
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41N 93W
quote:

ORIGINAL: max314

quote:

Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


Harsh.  Wrong.  Preposterous.

But I respect your opinion, and respect the fact you took the time out to write a detailed review



Dude, how can you call his score "wrong" and "preposterous" and say you respect his opinion?


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Post #: 232
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:01:36 PM   
Manchurian candidate


Posts: 11123
Joined: 13/6/2006
From: A Clear-Thinking Oasis

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314

quote:

Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


Harsh. Wrong. Preposterous.

But I respect your opinion, and respect the fact you took the time out to write a detailed review



Dude, how can you call his score "wrong" and "preposterous" and say you respect his opinion?



Arrogant. Pretentious. Condecending.

Grow some balls Olaf.

You're fast becoming the James Purnell of the Empire forums.

(Low blow I know).

_____________________________

"Ford's economics are the worst thing that's happened to this country since pantyhose ruined finger-fucking."
Lyndon B. Johnson
"British Beatitudes! Beer, beef, business, bibles, bulldogs, battleships, buggery and bishops"
-Ulysses, By James Joyce
"Rose McGowan is a fucking clown"
-Harry Lime
"Who's Keith"
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(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 233
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:06:24 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Oh, forgot to mention this one:

quote:

quote:

at least he has some level of taste!


Or maybe he's just inherited dad's


That's what I said... he has taste.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
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Post #: 234
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:11:38 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23685
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41N 93W
quote:

ORIGINAL: Manchurian candidate


quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314

quote:

Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


Harsh.  Wrong.  Preposterous.

But I respect your opinion, and respect the fact you took the time out to write a detailed review



Dude, how can you call his score "wrong" and "preposterous" and say you respect his opinion?



Arrogant. Pretentious. Condecending.

Grow some balls Olaf.

You're fast becoming the James Purnell of the Empire forums.

(Low blow I know).


How dare you
...James Purnell??


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Post #: 235
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:19:33 PM   
Manchurian candidate


Posts: 11123
Joined: 13/6/2006
From: A Clear-Thinking Oasis
It's just the first name that comes to mind when the sequence of words "Arrogant. Pretentious. Condecending. " come up.

_____________________________

"Ford's economics are the worst thing that's happened to this country since pantyhose ruined finger-fucking."
Lyndon B. Johnson
"British Beatitudes! Beer, beef, business, bibles, bulldogs, battleships, buggery and bishops"
-Ulysses, By James Joyce
"Rose McGowan is a fucking clown"
-Harry Lime
"Who's Keith"
- Rhubarb

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 236
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:19:36 PM   
sanchia


Posts: 18138
Joined: 3/1/2006
From: Norwich
quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

quote:

ORIGINAL: max314

quote:

Overall - 13/50, or:
26%


Harsh.  Wrong.  Preposterous.

But I respect your opinion, and respect the fact you took the time out to write a detailed review



Dude, how can you call his score "wrong" and "preposterous" and say you respect his opinion?



It is indeed an oxymoron.

_____________________________

Nothing to see here.



(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 237
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:22:49 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23685
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41N 93W
quote:

ORIGINAL: Manchurian candidate

It's just the first name that comes to mind when the sequence of words "Arrogant. Pretentious. Condecending. " come up.


Ah well, fair enough. But pretentious? Moi meme?


_____________________________

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Post #: 238
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:30:26 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

They can keep their form of storytelling then.


I'd prefer it if they shared

quote:

If you respect my opinion, why do you say it is 'wrong'.


Er...I said I respected your opinion.

That's not the same as agreeing with it.

quote:

I agree it is harsh - it needed to be.


No it didn't

quote:

Preposterous? Well, that's your opinion.


Of course it is.  Who else's would it be?

quote:

But neither of us are 'right' or 'wrong'. We just disagree on a very, very basic level. Using 'video game language' is all well and good for video-gamers, but hey! We're in a cinema! Let's use cinematic language that, wait a sec, cinema-goers will understand as a second language! My son (I don't own any baby goats...) wasn't bored by the opening race. He was bored by the meaningless crap that followed it. This is a child who watches Power Rangers for crying out loud! In fact, hell - I find Power Rangers more exciting and believable than this! And I hate the Power Rangers.


Well, that's just something I can't relate to.

And there's nothing wrong with introducing new storytelling techniques by borrowing intelligently from other mediums to make an effective narrative or emotional point.  Gamers will get exactly where the "ghost car" sequence is coming from, but even the most basic audience should be able to get that Speed is literally chasing his brother's ghost.

It's a poignant emotional point that combines the classic and the innovative in a way that pulls at the heart strings and sizzles the eyeballs.

It's great cinema.

quote:

Well, that's being silly. I can make the exact same counter-argument to your arguments.
Yes, the people around you were laughing....

See? Exact same 'argument' that proves nothing.


On the contrary.  It proves that those moments you criticise by using your child as a barometer can also be praised by using the audience around me at the time.

It's just more evidence towards the ever-clearer fact that this movie has proved to be highly divisive.

quote:

And re accusing me of leading my son's questioning, I thought you might say that, so I specifically (not that you can prove it of course) asked the question in as neutral a voice as possible. I didn't say, "were they fun or annoying?", I levelled my voice so he couldn't tell what I thought.


Well, as soon as you ask about a scene that's supposed to be funny as to whether or not it was funny or just annoying, it's pretty obvious what's on your mind

I don't know whether you lead your kid or not, and I'm willing to take your word for it.  Either way, I've read plenty of opinions that say they actually expected Chim Chim and Spritle to be annoying, but that they were in fact genuinely entertained by them.

Again, it's all down to the individual.  Humour is a very subjective thing.

quote:

The one thing you say was present is the one thing that I found missing. 'Genuine heart'. It would seem that, in the lead up to the new Indiana Jones film, Mola Ram is about, plucking out hearts from other films willy nilly!


Which is why it's good that Speed Racer managed to kick his ass and return the Shankara stone to the village

quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

You're wasting your time Homer. Max is incapable of being objective about his beloved Wachowskis.

The fact that he referred to the positive reviews on RT without saying that those positive reviews are massively outnumbered by bad reviews is proof of that.

Speed Racer could have driven those races in the 3-wheeled van from Only Fools and Horses and Max would have declared it genius!


I think the real problem here is that you are looking for some excuse as to why someone has a different opinion to your own, and so you're using my like for the Wachowskis' past work as a quick-fire "solution" to try and invalidate my view.

Which says more about you than me, wouldn't you agree?

And I actually referred to both positive and negative reviews on RT, saying that the critics' T-Meter was overall negative, but that the RT Community T-Meter was overall positive.  I merely made the point that, even though the critics' reviews are generally bad, there are still some very positive reviews among them that are agree with my own opinion of the film.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

Dude, how can you call his score "wrong" and "preposterous" and say you respect his opinion?


Because those are my views of his views.

Respecting someone's views is not the same as agreeing with them.

What exactly is so challenging about that?

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

That's what I said... he has taste.


Whatever floats yer boat, man...


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 239
RE: No Speed Racer No! - 19/5/2008 7:31:40 PM   
max314


Posts: 2741
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: London
quote:

ORIGINAL: sanchia

It is indeed an oxymoron.


It's not.

Think about it.


_____________________________

MAX

Laying the 314 on your candy ass.

(in reply to sanchia)
Post #: 240
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