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Speed Racer

Another faulty family film
By BRETT MICHEL  |  May 7, 2008
1.5 1.5 Stars
SPEED RACER: The kids might sit still for the first 15 minutes.

When Andy and Larry Wachowski pitched The Matrix to producer Joel Silver, they showed him the seminal anime Ghost in the Shell, claiming their ambition was to re-create it in live action. They probably didn’t do the same thing for Speed Racer. Who doesn’t have at least a passing familiarity with the adventures of the teenage racecar sensation and his extended family? The resulting film’s gee-whiz charms don’t wear thin for at least 15 minutes, leaving kids to squirm in (and out of) their seats for, oh, an additional two hours. Into the Wild’s Emile Hirsch takes a back seat in the title role, lost among seizure-inducing CGI sights that look like the descendents of Disney’s Tron –– if it had been raped by Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. Matthew Fox (who’s used to being Lost) doesn’t fare much better playing Speed’s mysterious shadow, Racer X, as they battle corporate greed, which is destroying both racing and worthwhile family films.135 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Circle/Chestnut Hill + suburbs
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