Before I get to the main hub of dismissing a childrens film for being too 'fun' I need to clear one thing up. The main character in this is called Speed. Speed Racer. Its not a nickname. Its his given name. Speed. Speed Racer. At one point during the film his teacher accuses him of being preoccupied with racing and at another his father asks him not to drive anymore. But his name... is... Speed. What the fuck!? Its like having a daughter called Cockgobbler Rimjob and then complaining that "she's a little promiscuous".
So anyway 'Speed' has been raised on cars. Loves 'em. His reason for being if you will. With a mechanic father and a big brother whose the star of the track Speed's destiny lies in putting the petal to the medal. When his brother starts ripping up his competitors like Michael Schumacher's evil twin (not Ralph, he was a good boy) and then pulls an Ayrton Senna, Speed doesn't decide 'no this may not be the life for me afterall' but instead follows in his brotehrs footsteps. Oh and there is some balls about race-fixing and big bad companies and saving the world through driving a car.
So to kick a kids film. Well its pluses and minuses all the way with Mr. Racer and friends. Pluses include spectacular visuals (if you can find a Digital copy do so, it may put me out of a job one day but this kind of film is perfect for the big D) and some quite touching family lessons about not selling out and yadda yadda yadda. If it wasn't Goodman and Sarandon playing the parents it might not work as well but as it is, it does. Negatives include a way too lengthy running time and an unsurity (ooh new word) as to what the film really wants to be.
Is it a cartoon just for kids (the simian and annoying child actor who I'd like to drown in a barrel of monkey poop would suggest so), is it a video game with a bit more characterisation (the lengthy race scenes say a big hell yeah) or is it an anti-establishment punk piece (with the Wachowskis on board it certainly can't be ignored)? The problem being that unless you particularly want all three in a single movie you'll be aggravated by at least one of the other two. A bit like The Matrix then. To continue with the 'doofus am I' theme that occasionally runs through this blog, there is a twist that myself (and a fellow Masters student and psychologist no less) were bamboozled by. So then scarred by a PG and outfoxed by another. I'm glad I'm out of the playground or the tune of thicky, thicky shits his pants would ring out loud. But at least my name isn't Speed.