Speed Racer (Wachowski, Wachowski, 2008)

The most fun no one had this summer can be found in The Wachowski Brothers’ movie adaptation of Speed Racer, a blatantly silly, flamboyant, and complex juxtaposition of image and sound built around the deconstruction of child-like innocence facing down corporate domination. It’s not surprising Speed Racer (which cost upwards of $150 million) failed miserably at the box office, since it doesn’t circumvent artificiality (like The Dark Knight) or pander to pop culture insignia (like Iron Man). Instead, Speed Racer revels in its pulsating hues and deafening explosions of a futuristic world defined by a visceral racing fun house and ruled by greedy conglomerates posing as policy makers. The film wears its heart firmly on its sleeve, which speaks volumes about the filmmakers intent to make a visually dynamic children’s film. For much of Speed Racer, this combination of genre and technology creates a blissful cloud of colored smoke and mirrors unworthy of the smug dismissals made by most American critics. How ironic, that in the most flimsy and fluid film of the year, some of the most genuine character interactions emerge unscathed and brimming with emotion.