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Review Speed Racer (2008)

“SPEED RACER” (2008)
By Lana & Lilly Wachowski | USA, Australia, Germany
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After the massive breakthrough with “The Matrix” and its not-so-successful sequels, the Wachowskis arrived in the most interesting part of their career. This is when the creative siblings reached their full potential as they are given the freedom to do anything with any budget the world can give them. And that truly shows. For their follow up film, “Speed Racer” — an adaptation of an old 70s anime — is one that embodies that total creative freedom.
“Speed Racer” is by definition an avant-garde film through its ways of breaking conventions and predetermined rules. It’s a film that uses colors, shapes, and movements unlike any other mainstream blockbuster we’ve seen before. From its very opening scene we already are thrust into these insanely stylized world the film sets itself on. Mimicking the style of the old animation from the anime, the film purposely makes everything cartoonish and fake. Even the names of the dubbed version of the anime carries through; names like Speed Racer (that’s an actual name, not a nickname) and Pops Racer are thrown like its the most normal thing in the world. The film also moves extremely fast and frantic at times which again, is true to that anime energy.
So yes, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed by all of this even in the very first scene of this film — a scene where the Wachowkis jump back and forth through time, essentially establishing our main character in merely 5 minutes. But after you pass the adjustment stage, you’ll find that the bursts of energy “Speed Racer” gave to be so cathartic in a way. Never did I found a film that is so bold and confident to show what it truly is. It’s a thing of rare beauty what the Wachowskis accomplished here. For its impossible to imagine such risky film to ever be made by a major studio in the near future.
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Though it was slanted and ridiculed by critics on its initial release, “Speed Racer” has grown to become a cult classic that enchanted many people with its sheer uniqueness alone. Though I can say I am as hardcore as the other big fans, I can safely say this film also managed to get into my good side despite almost giving me an epilepsy. A creative film from a creative pair of directors.
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