From Popeye to George of the Jungle, many a cartoon has tried to make the transition from pen and ink to flesh and blood, but none so spectacularly as Speed Racer. Zooming onto the big screen with a mixture of pedal to the metal pyrotechnics and hyperactive visuals, this live action take on the old school anime series is all kinds of crazy cool fun.
Speed Racer began its pop culture life in the 1960s as a Japanese manga (comic) and animated television series called Mach GoGoGo. Created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida for Tatsunoko Productions, the show (inspired by such western influences as Elvis Presley and James Bond) was quickly picked up for American syndication and given its now familiar name and iconic theme song. Over the years, the original series became a touchstone for both Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers alike, so a full-fledged movie version was inevitable.
And it is finally here; after seeing the kaleidoscopic images that only today’s digital technology could create, you’ll be glad they waited. Helmed by the visionary minds behind The Matrix trilogy, Larry and Andy Wachowski, this Speed thrills, exploding off the starting line and never letting up, laws of physics and plot densities be damned.
Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Speed Racer at LaughingPlace.com.
UPDATE: Speed Racer is now available on DVDfrom Amazon.com.