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Arcade in the Sky Blog: Speed Racer DVD review

Monday, September 22, 2008

Speed Racer DVD review

When I buy a DVD for a movie, I've usually seen it several times and know everything about it. So if I'm going to buy a DVD, it had better have a director's commentary as well as a load of other features. There are some movies, however, that can be forgiven for not having them, and Speed Racer was one of them.

I should preface this by saying that I am a fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon. When I finished high school, MTV started playing Speed Racer late at night. It was more for a joke than anything else. They were all like "Hey, here's another music video-on no! it's Speed Racer! Haha! We are such a funny and rebellious TV station! Love us!" Notwithstanding, I fell in love with the quirkiness of the whole thing. It's a show you laugh at as much as you laugh with, like Adam West's Batman.

So, when they announced a movie, I was ecstatic. I wanted to see it with my friends, but it seemed like they lack my enthusiasm for the property. I saw the movie by myself and loved every minute of it. I rank this movie right up there with the Princess Bride.

That said, I will admit to some conceptual flaws with the film. Speed Racer has always been a cult classic, not a mainstream classic; so pumping a hundred million dollars into the production of the movie might have been a misstep. Also, the races in the movie are so fast they make everything else slow by comparison. People have said that the talking parts are slow, but they really are not. They continually push plot and character, but when compared to the lightning pace of a race, anything would seem slow. At any rate, the DVD format fixes this problem, because you can always fast forward through the talk and get to your adrenaline fix.

There are two special features and no commentaries. One follows the actor who plays Spritle as he explores the film set. It starts with the press conference where he didn't get to answer one question. I found this hilarious because I saw that press conference a hundred times on Youtube in anticipation of this movie and I didn't even see him. Of course, some find Spritle annoying and those folks would not like this.

The other is nothing more than an announcer talking over turn-arounds of all the cars and their logos. The anouncer sounds like Mr. Ed. Y'know, no one can talk to a horse unless it's is th famous Mr. Ed? Nevermind-this is clearly meant for small children who got this DVD in their christmas stocking along with some hot wheels.

All in all, I couldn't resist this DVD. I hope there's an expanded special edition later, but I'm happy for now. I don't mind buying a movie this good twice.
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