Go, Speed Racer, Go!

Speed Racer - The Wachowskis

I’ll admit to not really following the upcoming movie adaptation of the classic Speed Racer anime series. The fact that the Wachowskis were doing it did little to give me confidence, considering how the Matrix trilogy ended and how muddled V for Vendetta was. But earlier this week, USA Today released some stills from the film, and now the first trailer has hit the Web (make sure to watch it in HD), and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t reassess my opinion.

It’s obvious from the materials above that the Wachowskis aren’t at all interested in a truly live-action reinterpretation of Speed Racer. The best way I can describe the look they’re going for here is a real life version of anime. That is to say, all of the visual flourishes that have become a given with anime are here in full, only given flesh and form. It’s something that Casshern went for, and achieved to varying degrees, but Speed Racer looks like it’s going for a lighter tone.

That could be its ultimate saving grace. After all, we’re talking about a film that features “car fu,” the nickname for the film’s automobile-based combat, and which you catch glimpses of in the trailer. It could be a truly delirious, over-the-top ride that turns moviegoers into wide-eyed little kids — or an absolute mess of visual splendor and little else (I’m looking in your general direction, 300).

Speed Racer arrives in theatres on May 9, 2008.


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