First, I have to give some background. I'm 42 years old. The heyday of the "Speed Racer" cartoon in the US was when I was 6-8 years old. I *loved* Speed Racer. I had tons of Matchbox cars and I spent all my time having car races. The races went all over the house, all over the furniture, all over the walls, all over the cats, everywhere. All the tricks of the Mach 5 were deployed. And Speed Racer always won. Always.
I say this because when I saw the first Speed Racer trailer, my jaw dropped. This was the Speed Racer of my childhood. Not the anime cartoon, but the movie that played in my head while I raced my cars around the house. Jumping cars, driving on all surfaces, absolutely wacky and surrealistic tracks, the demolition derby aspect, cars driving sideways while fishtailing, everything. Every bit of my childhood Speed Racer games looked like it was going to be in that movie.
And it was. I loved the racing scenes. I loved the way the movie really was a surrealistic, live-action anime. I loved the mixing of flashback and real-time. I loved the absurdly crazy visual style and glowing color scheme. I loved the slow-motion car jumping scenes especially when 2 or 3 cars jumped at once, something that's not easy to pull off when you're a kid playing with Matchbox. (But I did it.)
Sure, it was at times hard to follow the action. Sure, the dialogue could be a bit corny. Hey, this is Speed Racer! What did you expect?
And they gave Trixie a way better role than they did in the old TV series. And there was a real monkey. And some fun fight scenes. And John Goodman and Susan Sarandon were great as the parents. And it was a complete collection of accents (ie, not just Americans).
I've already seen the movie twice, and I'll surely see it a third time on IMAX and will buy the DVD. And, after the movie, I was in the mall and bought four Speed Racer cars at the toy store (Mach 5, Racer X car, Snake Oiler car and Prince Caspah car). When we got home, my younger daughter and I raced them all around the house, across the furniture, under the tables, on the counters. We had a blast.
So, I say "Yes!" to the movie. But, then again, how could I not?