Stop, Speed Racer, Stop
It’s no secret that The Wachowski’s SPEED RACER is primed to be the summer’s first big FLOP. Nikki Finke explains:
The real problems plaguing this pic occurred not in the marketing but in the production. Oh heck, they started as far back as handing control of the project to the writer-director Wachowski siblings (since they’re no longer brothers). The Industry scuttlebutt is that Warner Bros Pictures Group prez Jeff Robinov, a one-time agent, gave way too much power to his former clients. Of course, the success of their Matrix franchise justified a certain degree of autonomy. But Robinov and for that matter his boss Alan Horn should have written into the contract that Speed Racer had to clock in at 90 to 100 minutes long — the average for kiddie pics these days — and not the absurd 2 hours, 15 minutes length it is now.
Now we’d gladly sit through 2 hours (we think) of a SPEED RACER acid trip, which looks like nothing so much as playing an auto racing game. But most people wouldn’t. Movie Marketing Madness has more on how Warners dropped the ball
And right there I think you have a sense of how this movie is differing from most of the other tentpole releases this summer: It’s the only one that seems to be sublimating character for visuals. Iron Man, The Dark Knight, heck even The Incredible Hulk have all taken pains to make sure it’s the character every bit as much as the special effects that are drawing people in. I can’t help but think it’s this sterility in approach that’s contributing to the lack of buzz around the movie and its poor tracking. People are engaging with the characters that they’re seeing as more fully fleshed out rather than something that just looks wicked cool.
Be that as it may we have every intention of going to see SPEED RACER. First off, it looks weird, even if it is dreadful. Second, the SPEED RACER cartoon was our first great love. We HAD to be home in time for Speed. We threw horrible tantrums when we missed it, and wore our vinyl-lined Speed-esque kiddie driving gloves until our mom had to just about cut them off our hands and they smelled like egg salad inside. So yeah there’s some nostalgia at play. But we just like Speed Racer.
BONUS: the new Speed Racer cartoon debuted on Nick recently, and it was written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray.