Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Speed Racer Situation

Go Speed Racer!

Moriarty at AICN is in the same boat as I am. We both really liked Speed Racer and believe it's a fun movie that must be seen on the big screen. So, why is it doing bad at the box office?

There seems to be a lot of finger pointing and second guessing. Moriarty sat down with Speed Racer producer Joel Silver to go over some of those details. Going through the reviews and user comments there seems to be a few issues that stand out the most.
  1. Target Audience. People were mixed about the adult nature of the Wachowski Bros. (Matrix, Bound) directing a "family" film. People seem readily confused as to whether Speed Racer was going to be a kids movie or more adult oriented. This is the biggest concern that I have seen.
  2. The Trailer. Even with all the blitz in advertising I still see a lot of people comment that they just didn't get excited with the trailer.
  3. Star Power. Simply put, Emile Hirsch is a great actor but he doesn't have the strength to carry a movie. Personally, I liked him as Speed and it's hard to immagine someone else taking on that role better than he did. Plus, is interaction with Pops (John Goodman) was great.
  4. People forgot about Speed Racer. Sounds silly but as I was talking with some people we noticed there really wasn't a push to bring back the Speed Racer cartoons we all grew up with. After the movie we saw some ads for a tacky, new Speed Racer cartoon but if you're going to adapt a movie you'd think one of the networks would jump on airing the old cartoons to wet our appetite. In high school I remember it playing regularly nightly on either MTV or Nick at Night. Where was that push?
  5. Read the comments on this MTV movie blog to see some more. They posted the question on "why didn't you go?" and it really helped shed some light on the subject.
DJ Heinlein at Matte Havoc believes it is the studio system to blame for the bad opening of Speed Racer. He talks about the bad decision of opening after a potential block-buster in Iron Man (officially a block-buster now!) and the bad TV spots/trailers. Be sure to check out his blog on the subject at: Matte Havoc: Speed Racer, the Cinematic Victim

Of personal note, I would have loved to see more focus put on the technology to make the film rather than the cheesy promotions on cereal boxes and juice bottles. I know, I know. The producers were going after a family audience but the film making of Speed Racer will go unnoticed by so many people. The full-focus camera work and CG-style of Speed Racer is fantastic and I can't imagine anyone getting a lift out of it on a small TV screen. If you get a chance be sure to take a trip to the theater to check out the Speed Racer movie. It is truly live-action anime.

1 comment:

DJ Heinlein said...

Thanks for the link to my post. Thank you for tying in all these different blog articles that discuss the issue at hand. I enjoyed the movie so much that I actually watched it twice already, and the film hasn't even been in the theater for a week yet!

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