I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘anime’

Summer Movie Flashback: Speed Racer

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

tn_speedracer

2008
2008

These days it’s pretty common for people to say that SPEED RACER is an overlooked gem – or even a masterpiece – that was misunderstood at the time. So give credit to your old Uncle Vern for praising it from day 1. I didn’t misunderstand that shit! I understood the hell out of it. I am a real good understander in my opinion. Not to brag.

But this is the second time I’ve watched it and actually I liked it alot more this time. I didn’t have as many reservations about the aggressively shiny and video gamey pixelscapes it takes place in. It’s still not my favorite look, but my brain has adjusted. I don’t know, maybe the rainbow colored kaleidoscope spinning around the studio logos at the beginning hypnotizes you when you see it on Blu-Ray. It starts to look amazing.

What really impressed me is the next level filmatism within that artifical world. The camera (or “camera”) soars through, over and around these space age racers as they zoom, drift, bounce and fly through loopty-loops, giant pinball machines and monster-faced ice caves, and despite all the speed and freneticism I think this mayhem is really easy to follow. (Judging from my original review maybe the smaller screen helps.) Characters’ heads constantly float away, wiping into the next scene, a more evolved version of Ang Lee’s best moves in HULK and, now that I think about it, one of a long list of ways that this movie must’ve influenced the shit out of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. There are fight scenes, Speed and Racer X vs. practicioners of nonjitsu, and you get a glimpse of the MATRIX era Wachowskis. Then it bounces into a more candy colored, silly-anime type of style with abstract backgrounds and even more exaggerated physics. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Akira

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

tn_akiraIt’s hard out there in Neo-Tokyo. I don’t have to tell you guys. I’m sure shit was even worse right after the old Tokyo got nuked, but it’s still no picnic. You got a police state trying to crack down on all the protesters, not just the terrorists setting off bombs everywhere. You got cultists carrying on about the end times and the second coming, and it doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it used to. All you can really do is go to bars, buy capsules, steal motorcycles, customize ’em, then get out there with your friends and attack some other gang, chase ’em through the streets, hit ’em in the head with pipes, try to murder them. That’s what childhood pals Kaneda and Tetsuo do, fighting some clowns. And I don’t mean that like jokers or bozos, but an actual gang of guys who wear clown makeup. I don’t see any juggalo type symbols on them, so I’m not sure if it’s that type of deal or not.

Anyway, it’s the only fun a young man has these days and the cops even interfere with that. Ruin everything. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Speed Racer

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

If the old Speed Racer cartoon had a baby with a Hot Wheels commercial in the back of a candy store and fed it magic mushrooms every day for breakfast, then when it turned 18 that baby would legally become this movie. What I mean is it’s clearly the product of its upbringing: silly cartoon plot, Skittles color palette, cartoon physics, monkey wearing clothes, etc. But it wants to become a man, so it rebels. It confuses little kids and their parents with a complex non-linear structure intercutting a present day race with backstory and a flashback race and overlapping past and present races within one shot. And instead of trying to stop some evil plot to destroy the world like you’re supposed to do in this type of movie, SPEED RACER helps an investigative body stop a corrupt corporation from manipulating the stock market by fixing races. (It does not mention the tax disputes from PHANTOM MENACE.)

The result is a movie that people want to beat up. The Wachowski Brothers until now have only directed 4 movies, 3 of them THE MATRIX and the other one just to prove to the studio they could direct THE MATRIX, so this is almost like their sophomore slump. It’s an absurdly ridiculous and/or ridiculously absurd, kind of alienating and weird Wachowski version of a kiddie movie that already seems destined to lose the studio a ton of money and either force the Wachowskis to try something smaller or safer or to go away and not direct for ten years. Also I kind of liked it. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.