Go Speed Racer Go!

Speed Racer The Movie

Last night I re-watched one of my favorite movies.  Please don’t judge me: Speed Racer.  If you look at a lot of other reviews of this movie you will understand why people tend to give me dirty looks when I admit my love for this movie out loud, but I think it is a misunderstood masterpiece and I am going to try and explain why I feel this way.

Speed Racer is a movie based off a Japanese Cartoon from the mid-sixty’s.  Speed Racer is the name of the main character and all he wants to do is be the best race car driver in the whole world, and his dad runs Racer Motors, and builds his cars.  The basic plot of this movie is that small independent race car companies are good and the big sponsors and builders are bad.  Oscar worthy I know, but the plot is not what makes this movie great.  It is the visuals, and the slavish devotion to the source material.

This movie is like cotton candy for your eyes.  There are shades of neon in this movie that you didn’t even know existed.  And the way they make the cars move, is like how every six year old makes his Matchbox cars move: turning three-sixties, jumping, spinning, sliding around every corner.  It is the stuff of every little boy’s dreams.  Fantastic.

The Wachowski’s also took a risk by turning a live action movie in to a cartoon with real people in it.  All the sets are animated, and so is the entire world around them. They made characters in the movie exactly as they are in the show which is amazing since the show was never that popular, and I don’t think any but a few of us got all the references.

Like I said before in this movie is like cotton candy.  I know this movie is pure visual sugar, and I can’t watch it all the time, but sometimes there is just nothing better then giving your eyes a treat.  Even if you disagree with me about if  this movie is good or not, I still think everyone should own this on Blu-Ray, not on DVD or streaming but Blu-Ray, because watching this movie puts your Hi-Def screen through its paces, and seeing those crazy colors pop and spin will make your jaw drop.  I can’t wait for the 4K Ultra Hi-Def screens to come out, so I can melt my eyes out with this movie.

Trying to be Pitch Perfect

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So I was wondering what I was going to review this morning, and at first it was going to be the Super Bowl, but 50% of American’s watched it, so it is kind of unreviewable.  Next up I was thinking I just watched The Breakfast Club for like the twentieth time, but hey it is a John Hughes classic and if you haven’t seen it shame on you.  So thanks to my wife I also just watched the movie Pitch Perfect.

Pitch Perfect is about at rag-tag all girls a cappella glee club, The Barden Bellas, trying to win it all.  Of course they have to out sing the all men group that is conveniently from the same school.  The movie starts off with a loner, Beca (Anna Kendrick), who just likes to mix music and be alone, but gets dragged in to singing when another girl hears her sing in the shower.  Then Beca’s new ideas put her at odds with the head of the group.  I won’t spoil the end, but I am sure you can figure it out.

The movie is tons of fun.  It plays with glee club culture and makes it seem hip and cool.  The main flaw that this movie has is that main character has crippling attachment issues that maker her push everyone that likes her away, and since they are all likable people it makes her unlikable for quite a bit of the movie, and that is always a dangerous choice. Thankfully Rebel Wilson’s role as “Fat Amy” keeps this film funny and light hearted.  Rebel is becoming a standout in comedy these days and Pitch Perfect is another feather in her cap.

Pitch Perfect is a good movie with a great supporting cast, and if you like glee clubs or college movies it is for sure something to put in your queue to watch.  But if you haven’t seen Breakfast Club watch that first because John Hughes rocks.

Set Destination for Treasure Planet

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Treasure Planet is a Disney movie that people tend to forget about, but seeing it on Netflix prompted me to give it a try.

Treasure Planet is one of the few Disney animated films where they are specifically targeting boys.  It has everything from space boats to an alien that speaks in farts, and the main character rides a powered hover-board.  In my perspective, as a boy, it mostly succeeds at this attempt. I like space, pirates, and think fart humor is funny, so good work everybody, but it never breaks through and  becomes a classic.  I think that they were trying just a little too hard to be ‘cool’.

The story is mostly the same as Treasure Island except in space, and I was wondering during the film if they just did Treasure Island if it would have been a classic.  I think with the cast and crew it would have been close.

As is, it is a good flick and I think most people should check it out.

Don’t fear The Wrath of the Titans

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Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to the reboot of Clash of the Titans which did horrible business in the US but did great business overseas, so I am sure that producers hoped that this would do the same.  It didn’t.  But it promised big monsters and cool landscapes, so I gave it a try.

This movie had one thing going for it.  Cool Monsters, and it delivered on that, but sadly everything else was lacking.  The story was that pretty much everyone had daddy issues and they they had all reached a boiling point because the stupid humans decided to stop praying to the gods making the gods weak, and because they were weak they could no longer contain the big daddy of them all, Cronos: giant lava monster.  He is the father of the gods, and he wants to wipe out the Earth or something, so our heroes obviously decide to stop him.

So they go from one cool looking fight to the next to stop oblivion, but the problem is that you never feel that they are in danger, and they do nothing to develop the characters to care if they make it or not, so all you get is cool looking stuff, which looks great on my big screen, but makes the 97 minute run time seem like slow motion.  I am sure the main motivation for actors in this film was the pay check, and since all they had to do was hang out in sand box surrounded by a green screen, heck why not.

So if you like cool looking bad guys and dudes in skirts, this is your movie.  If those aren’t enough then look else ware for TV viewing fun.

Spreading Dredd

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A friend of mine, Daniel Robison, pointed out that Dredd is selling very well on DVD and Blu-Ray even though it was undoubtedly a box office flop  This is great news; Dredd was a fantastic film that delivered on it promise of non-stop action and violence and it never lets up until the end.  All us geeks are hoping that if it sells well enough on DVD that it will get a sequel.  I doubt that it will work, but it is good to see a movie rewarded for its valiant effort to create movies based on comic book characters, and not compromise on what and who that characters is to add “mass appeal”. So I encourage everyone to go and check out this movie.  It should be at all major rental venues and wherever movies are sold.