Speed Racer Is a Slog

Sparkling presentation doesn't make up for failed storyline
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 9, 2008 11:33 AM CDT
Actors Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci, stars of "Speed Racer," appear onstage during a taping of MTV's "Total Request Live" Monday, May 5, 2008 in New York.    (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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(Newser) – The Wachowski brothers’ Speed Racer is a flashy ride that would be great for kids—if it weren’t “like C-SPAN set in an arcade,” writes Carina Chocano in the Los Angeles Times. Endless, aimless dialog, she says, dominates the “juvenile and hermetic” pastiche about a Grand Prix driver avenging his brother's death in a futuristic world that looks like the inside of a pinball machine. 

The New York Times’ AO Scott agrees: “When it comes to storytelling, Speed Racer has nothing in common with its title.” Scott admits “there may be a perverse integrity” in the Wachowskis’ approach—focusing “relentlessly on visual style while dispensing almost entirely with credible emotion or intelligible narrative.” And Joe Neumaier offers New York Daily News readers a way to enjoy the film: “Trying to follow the plot is like reading toy instructions on Christmas morning: Skip it, and just look at the pretty lights.”