I'm not exactly sure why I wanted to watch this; I think it was mostly curiosity. I was a big fan of the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix (I'll admit it, liked all three of 'em), although I was annoyed by V for Vendetta (and laughed out loud at some parts that weren't supposed to be funny). Having never watched the Speed Racer cartoon series, my curiosity was thus further heightened. I was not rewarded.
Most movies based on comic books or cartoons try to explain the backstory to bring everybody up to speed, specifically those unfamiliar with the series. Speed Racer's effort felt forced and inadequate. I came close to turning it off after 20-30 minutes, but the establishment of the arch enemy kept me from hitting the power button. I still don't know whether or not I made the right decision.
What I'm sure of, however, is that I probably would've loved this movie if I were 10 or 11 years old. Racing, explosions, cheesey jokes, visual stimulation, and a fairly simple plot. At times, this movie reminded me of the pod race in Star Wars: Episode I, but thankfully it wasn't that annoying or stupid. The CG was amazing at times and Xbox-good at others, and probably didn't help the pod-racing comparisons; this probably would've looked great at IMAX.
Casting for this movie had a few blips: John Goodman seemed like an odd choice for Speed Racer's father, but since I've never seen the cartoon, maybe I'm wrong here. Emile Hirsch, who played Speed Racer, only confirmed my previous suspicions that he's not a good actor.
Blurb: Unless you own an IMAX, haven't gone through puberty yet, or are a devotee of the cartoon, you should probably check out some other movie. Any other movie... except Revolver or The Grifters.