PG for sequences of action, some violence, language, and brief smoking.
Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation
May 9, 2008
Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman
Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
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Movie Review: Speed Racer
- Speed Racer starts off with a bang, slows down around the end of the first lap, but picks up speed for a grand, exciting finish.
The movie opens by intercutting Speed Racer’s idolization of his older brother, Rex, with Speed preparing for and running a race as a young driver himself. The flashback shows how Rex tried to fight the big racing corporations who tried to bomb their father’s independent shop, including Speed himself. The brother angrily leaves home to fight the evildoers on their own turf, but their father, Pops, disowns him. Rex is killed in a race, and now Speed Racer is aiming to break his brother’s record on one track, but lets his foot off the pedal at the last moment, to honor Rex’s memory.
The maniacal owner of Royalton Industries tries to enlist Speed as one of his drivers. When Speed turns him down, Royalton shows Speed that he and other racing tycoons are fixing the biggest races in order to boost profits. He threatens to prevent Speed from ever crossing another finish line.
Like his brother before him, Speed decides to beat Royalton at his own game. With help from his girlfriend Trixie, Speed teams up with his rival, the mysterious Racer X, and a Japanese driver to run The Crucible, the death-defying road rally that claimed his brother’s life. A terrible betrayal forces Speed to drive in the pinnacle event of the World Racing League, the Grand Prix. Royalton has placed a million dollar bounty, however, on the driver who takes Speed Racer out of the business – forever.
Speed Racer is a wildly exhilarating, delightful ride at the cinema. Filmed in eye-popping Technicolor, the photography is rich with visually stunning state-of-the-art computer graphics. The race scenes are full of speeding cars racing around curved tracks, mountains and deserts. The races are like speeding bumper cars. Eventually, Speed has to install all sorts of protective devices on his Mach 5 to stop the vicious tactics of the other racers employed by the evil Royalton.
Though it slows down in the second half of the first act, the plot soon picks up speed in the thrillingly awesome competition during the Crucible race and never stops until the exciting finish. The story and characters seldom get overwhelmed by the movie’s special effects. Children will not only enjoy the racing action but also the comic antics of Speed’s younger brother Spritle and the family’s pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim.
The movie tells a positive story of good overcoming evil. The second half also contains several heartwarming, touching moments between Speed Racer and his parents. The movie extols family and teamwork and presents parents as a potentially positive force in their children’s lives. It also shows heroic characters fighting corruption in society.
That said, Speed Racer contains some intense action sequences. There are also some shots of women in low-cut dresses. In one scene, Speed and Trixie are sitting alone in his car with Trixie in a low-cut dress. She tries to get Speed interested in romance by asking him two or three times, “Do you like this?” Of course, Speed and Trixie are interrupted by Spritle and Chim-Chim, who have hidden in Speed’s trunk. That’s pretty much the extent of any sexual innuendo in this PG-rated movie, which also contains a few relatively light obscenities, one strong profanity using Jesus, seven light profanities, and Spritle gives a bad man the finger. Furthermore, there are some Romantic aspects to the movie’s worldview.
Thus, Movieguide® advises caution and parental guidance for children for this vivid, candy-colored pop fantasy.
Address Comments To:
Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Alan Horn, President
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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