Unlike some people, the Japanese cartoon Speed Racer was not a feature of my childhood. I don't recall it ever being on television in my area, though I do remember seeing pictures. I wasn't crazy about Japanese animation in my youth anyway. (I hated G-Force) I did try watching it when Teletoon was running it nearly a decade ago, but found it unwatchable.
But then all the Speed Racer toys started popping up and I saw the adverts on the sides of buses. Proving that it is truly bankrupt for ideas, Hollywood has made a movie out of Speed Racer. I saw the television ad a couple of weeks back and thought it looked more like an adaptation of 1975's sci-fi cult classic, Rollerball. They race in an indoor track it looks like and there are all kinds of traps and pitfalls waiting to put an end to our "hero".
Today I was reading a short interview with Christina Ricci in 24hours. She plays Speed's girlfriend in the film and they talk about her choice of roles over the past few years. Whatever. What interested me was the synopsis of the film which reads:
...the movie tells of a young race car driver who learns that wealthy corporations are using their profits to pay off drivers and fix racers.
Speed Racer is a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win The Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother, Rex Racer. Speed is loyal to the family business, run by his parents Pops and Mom. Pops designed Speed's car, the Mach 5. The owner of Royalton Industries makes Speed a lucrative offer, but Speed rejects the offer, angering the owner. Speed also uncovers a secret that top corporate interests, including Royalton, are fixing races and cheating to gain profit. With the offer to Speed denied, Royalton wants to ensure that Speed will not win races. Speed finds support from his parents and his girlfriend Trixie and enters The Crucible in a partnership with his one-time rival, Racer X , seeking to rescue his family's business and the racing sport itself.
Hmmm... not exactly Rollerball, but still pretty damned close in my books. In Rollerball, corporations have taken over and now run the world. They use Rollerball to anesthetize the masses and undermine any notions about the strength and power of individuals. The corporations use "priviedges" to buy-off players. They adjust the rules and shift things around so that the outcomes will always favour their ends. Basically, both films are about the individual against the monolithic, all-powerful corporations.
I dunno, sounds like a film worth skipping.