SPEED RACER will fail at the box office.
I liked the style, I liked the effects, I liked the actors – with the possible exception of Matthew Fox who is far to innocent looking when the mask is removed to pull of a character as brooding, thoughtful, mysterious and, yes, as hot as Racer X is supposed to be. I liked that they kept the funky schoo, schoo, schoo sound when the Mach 5 flips through the air, I liked that they paid the perfect amount of homage to the original SPEED RACER series – the first successful animé series ever to air on U.S. television (yes, I was a fan girl) – without it being overwhelming, and I liked Trixie.
This movie will not fail because of it’s sometimes overwhelming special effects, or it’s over-the-top comic book character acting, or the few parts that drag mercilessly. This movie will fail because it is stuck in Movie Purgatory – adults will not want to bother because of the PG rating and parents who take kids younger than teenagers will hate it because their kids don’t get half of the plot and end up squirming and fidgeting all through the movie.
I can say this with such conviction because I saw it happen with my own eyes in my local theater just last night. Every child under 13 or 14 in that theater was quickly bored. They liked the scenes with Spritle and Chim Chim because they will be able to identify with the characters, but that leaves about 90% of the movie going over their heads. The racing scenes are cool enough, but are cut so fast and tight that it’s hard to keep up with them, or keep interested, at some points.
All in all, I look forward to getting SPEED RACER – the original 1970’s animé series – on DVD. The movie? Not so much.
KATIE RATING: 5 of 10
ROTTEN TOMATOES RATING: 35% Rotten!