Speed Racer ★★★★★

Wow! I can't believe this movie exists! I had the biggest dumbest grin from cheek to cheek the entire movie. This is one of the only good live-action anime adaptations. The Wachowskis are clearly in love with the material. There is not a single ounce of irony or cynicism in the filmmaking here. It's amazing and dumb and earnest in the same way that all great anime is. I mean, come on, the main character has the first name: Speed, last name: Racer. I love it.

The best decision the Wachowskis made was to abandon any pretense of realism. With oppressively bright colors, shots with a surreal digital quality because of the extreme depth of field where nothing is out of focus, and enough seamless transitions between shots to make even Satoshi Kon blush, it's a sight to behold! This film leans so heavily into artifice that it loops back around into a kind of hyper-reality. It somehow manages to make Takeshi Koike's work look grounded and subtle. Well, maybe. Almost. The point is this film is completely unreal. But the bubble-gum painted world it creates is real to the characters, so it becomes real to us. It's pretty astounding, I think.

Call me overly pretentious or otherwise, but I love how racing is this completely obvious and on the nose metaphor for art and filmmaking. It's really quite self-congratulatory of the Wachowskis by the end, but after every great piece of art they've made and the entirety of this film, I'd say they earned it. It just works, especially with these wonderful and simple characters who just care about the purity of self-expression found in racing. I love how the climax of the race becomes this blinding mix of light and color. As Speed Racer gets in that zone of making great art, everything melts away. And we get to be right there with him.

Love this movie!

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Also, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman put in fucking work in this movie! They are everything. And Christina Ricci in every scene is my transition goals!

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