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Speed Racer
Written and Directed by The Wachowski Brothers
Distrubted by Warner Brothers Entertainment
Date of Release:
Rated: PG

Annotation:
Speed Racer is the best race car driver the world has ever seen.

Plot Summary:
All Speed has ever wanted to do was race cars. His blood runs deep with automobile oil. His older brother, Rex Racer, is a great car racer and encourages Speed’s passion for cars.  Speed’s parents, Pops and Mom, are the owner of his own racing company, Racer Motors. The family is proud and takes great pride in their work.

Rex Racer changes everything when he chooses to join a corporate team, leaving Pops behind. Speed is devasted and he must watch as his brother slowly is destroyed in the completive field. When Rex dies at the ruthless Casa Cristo race, the family mourns and is left with the rumors of Rex’s actions.

Years pass and Speed has become the top driver in the racing world. Speed with his car the Mach 6, only wants to race and take care of his family. When Speed’s skill grows, corporations are eager for Speed to join their ranks. Speed is then approached by E.P. Arnold Royalton, a manipulative businessman who has plans on controlling the racing industry. Trusting his gut, Speed refuses Royalton’s offer and continues to drive on his own. Royalton then plans for Speed’s downfall. It’s within this action that the racing world begins to see a change and it’s up to Speed to finish the greatest race of his career.

Critical Evaluation:
Based on the 1960s Japanese anime of the same name, Speed Racer is an over-the-top thrill ride that pushes the boundaries of technology and animation. The racing scenes are filled with color and imagination as Speed and his enemies fight on the tracks.

The Wachowskis’ use of visual technology adds to the mythos of the original anime and enhances the story. While some might complain about the quick pace of the animation, it fits with the storyline and the characters.

The actors are given a retro look that shares with the presentation of the anime. The female characters, once ignored in the original, are pushed up and given more power. They are strong and are an asset in Speed’s life.

The story is fun and simple. It’s clear that the Wachowskis’ intended this to be a kids/teen film, giving more attention to the visuals over the plot.

Information about the Directors:
From the Wachowski’s Wikipedia page, twins born in Chicago, the Wachowskis (Lana and Andy) are directors who have favored privacy and often do not do interviews. This has recently changed for the promotion of their latest film, Cloud Atlas. Lana, formerly Larry, felt it was important to start doing publicity again due to her recent sex change. Lana hopes that can be a positive influence for those transgender individuals who do not have a role model to look up to. Lana has cited that she suffered from depression and almost committed suicide.

The sibling due is responsible for the Matrix trilogy. They have been heavily influenced by Japanese animation and comic books. The siblings are often very involved in their projects such as writing and directing films as well as producing films. The prefer to have their work push the boundaries of genre, using stories that speak of the human condition beyond anything else.

Genre:
Action, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties:
Race Car Driving History

Booktalking Ideas:
What does it mean to stand up for one’s beliefs?
What’s your favorite way to travel?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The tim is rated PG and be best suited for viewers 14 and up.

Challenging Issues:
Potential Issues would include violence.

Why did I include this film in the title selection?
The film, through all of its chaos, is still a fun film to watch. Teens will appreciate the visuals of the film as well as the storyline.

Reference:
Wikipedia. (n.d.) Speed Racer. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wachowskis

The original Speed Racer series is available to view on Hulu.

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