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Film review: Speed Racer

If there’s a problem with the Wachowskis’ kinda sorta live-action adaptation Speed Racer, it’s one of address—is this a movie for kids, or for grown-ups who grew up watching the early anime import in its late-sixties heyday (and/or its brief late nineties revival)?

It’s rated PG, and follows the basic structure of the cartoons perfectly (goofy melodrama and racing action for older kids, silly comedy relief involving Spritle and Chim Chim for younger kids).

But it’s also about two hours and fifteen minutes long, kind of heavy on the swearing and arty as all hell.

Will the same kids who enjoy a chimpanzee in osh koshes and think Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci mashing their perfect lips together is gross appreciate scenes of wicked tycoons talking about manipulating the stockmarket while profiles of their faces float across the screen, or the 2001: A Space Odyssey-like moment where the hero goes so fast he, like, transcends visual information?

I don’t know. This is a film that’s easy to see audiences both loving and hating, depending on the individual sitting in the seats, and their own ages, experiences and preferences. Continue reading