Speed Racer

Speed Racer ★★★★

"Go, Speed, Go!"

The Emile Hirsch Project: 10 of 25.

It was the Summer of 1997. 6 year old Marcus was spooning Frosted Mini-Wheats into his mouth while Mom was at work. His babysitter came into the living room and asked him again. "Do you want to watch Speed Racer?"

She only had one Speed Racer VHS, containing two episodes. Marcus had watched that VHS nearly a dozen times, and would come to watch it a dozen more times.

The TV blared in the hot, stuffy summer heat.

"Here he comes! Here comes Speed Racer..."

It was the Summer of 2008. 17 year old Marcus sat down by himself in the IMAX theater, as much nervous as he was geeking out. The Wachowski Brothers-Sisters produced a long, ambitious, expensive film attempting to pay tribute to that one cartoon on the two-episode VHS tape he watched in 1997.

Two and a half hours later, Marcus' heart was racing. The film had done it. The ups, downs, silliness, and excitement of Speed Racer had been translated to the big screen.

One week later, 17 year old Marcus was back in the theater, this time accompanied by his brother, whom he urged to see this movie. Two and a half hours later, Marcus had a geeking-out partner. Wow. What a great movie.

It was the Summer of 2017. 25 year old Marcus sat down and revisited 2008's Speed Racer, the film reeking of critical criticism and flaw. The 37 Metacritic score its Scarlet Letter to all those who have the tiniest consideration to watch the film.

Two and a half hours later, Marcus acknowledges and swallows the flaws. The romantic nostalgia of that special memory with his brother 9 years prior was hit with a hard dose of adulthood. Long stretches of the film were unnecessary. Boring. A little over the top. He was slightly nauseous from his green screen overdose.

Yet, he was smiling.

Emile Hirsch Performance
Emile plays the lead role of Speed. He does well, but it must be said: Speed, as a character, is not complicated - nor does he have to be complicated. This protagonist is the stability on which all other characters stand on and rotate around. He looks good in blue against the green (screen), and serves the film's vision well. I'm giving him a 3 out of Mach-5.
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Speed Racer has its flaws. But Marcus smiles. Fun. Exciting. Nostalgic. Filled with precious memory of a innocent high-school journey. Colorful. Emile.

Bring on the hate. But 37 Metacritic never felt so good.