Speed Racer on DVD

Speed Racer on DVD. This film adaptation of the 1960s Japanese cartoon television show is a complex blend of several elements. It’s full of amazing computer-generated racing action that keeps things interesting despite a rather predictable and uninspired plot. At its heart, it’s a story about a family overcoming their differences to stay together. In this case, the family runs an independent auto-racing team competing against the corrupt corporate manufacturers that control the sport. They find themselves in this David vs. Goliath situation after their super-talented son refuses to join the leading conglomerate as a driver. Similar to today’s world of auto racing, they face a seemingly insurmountable task with limited resources, but by working with the mysterious Driver X, the gang tries in the end to prove the moral that “Cheaters never prosper.”

Visually, the film uses some real-life scenes, a lot of green screen work with actors in the cars’ cockpits, and fully animated driving sequences. The action scenes are so frenetically paced that it is difficult at times to appreciate the stunts that are being depicted. Fans of the original show won’t recognize some of the futuristic tracks that host the races, but they will appreciate the effort made to find actors resembling the cartoon characters and the producers’ decision to keep the simplistic color schemes for each. Parents should be aware that the level of violence, both on the track and off, may be a bit too much, but is also true to its Japanese anime roots.

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