I had no intention of seeing this movie myself, never having seen the cartoon on which it’s based. I’ve never been a fan of "Japanimation"/anime myself, with "Voltron" being a possible exception. But Kyle wanted to see it, so we went this past Saturday.
I know critics have panned the plot. But I’m a sucker for the oh-so-naive underdog protagonist who is told he can’t possibly win/beat the odds against the (often corrupt) System, yet does so anyway. (Yes, I liked "Roadhouse" too.) So I liked the story.
From an Adult perspective, the opening sequence can lose you quickly if you’re not ready for it. It’s a not-so-obvious flashback detailing the fate of Speed’s older brother, Rex. You’ll get lost if you’re not paying attention. From a Kid perspective, there’s so much color and action you won’t get bored.
And the EFFECTS. WOW. This movie is worth the price of admission just to see what they’re doing now. If it wasn’t true before, it is now: You can NOT tell where the live actors end and the green screen/digital effects begin. It truly is amazing. The COLOR in this flick is SO over-the-top that the Real World seems genuinely pale in comparison for awhile when you leave the theater. But in a good way. (At least, in a way *I* like.)
I also have to comment on the orchestration. Usually I prefer a soundtrack that does it’s job so well that you don’t even notice. But in this flick, I found my own heart pounding near the end of the final race and I realized that this was largely due to the music that was–pun intended–DRIVING. In fact, I’m thinking of seeing it again just to pay attention to that particular race and the music to better appreciate this effect.
As I said, I have never seen the original cartoon. I have no idea if this adaptation is true to it, or trashes it. All I know is that I was surprised to find that I LIKED it. It’s not thought-provoking. It may be schmaltzy. But it’s also FUN!