Speed Racer

First of all I should point out that video games are a HUGE market in this electronic world. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on them each year, even though I would venture to guess you and I don't spend one thin dime. If you have anyone in your family (and I suspect you might) who enjoys the colorful action, the gaudy special effects and the cartoonish mayhem of video games, let's talk about this movie...

The Wachowski brothers (the billion-dollar "Matrix" franchise) who wrote and directed, know their fanboys! They know video games and they know high-voltage entertainment. What surprised me was their solid through line of family values, the importance of playing fair, why one should keep one's word and the necessity for children to grow up and leave home. The comedy was broad, with no double entendres, no smut and only one kick to the crotch.

If kids are already used to the visual impact of video games, they would have a much higher tolerance for what I watched on the screen for over two hours. I'm too old to enjoy the color-drenched hyper-reality and animated martial arts. On the other hand, I'm sure the kids will eat it up. And they will be getting a nice message as well: respect your parents, love your siblings, be loyal and honest.
  • Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild" and "The Emperor's Club") is doing an interesting mix of roles, with the super serious movies I just mentioned, to the eponymous "Speed Racer" of this current frolic.
  • John Goodman ("Raising Arizona" and "The Big Lebowski"), out of rehab and looking much healthier than he has lately, is Dad, who expresses appropriate parental concern along with a generous dollop of love and high regard for his wife.
  • Susan Sarandon ("The Banger Sisters" and "Enchanted") is Mom, a sensible, affectionate wife and mother.
  • Rain, an appealing Korean-born actor who will be starring in a upcoming project, tentatively called "Ninja Assassin." (He had an assertive young promoter passing out business cards which extol his talents...interesting...he's not leaving anything to chance, is he! Many of us waiting in line for the movie were a little curious, he seems to sing, too!)
  • An extremely well-trained monkey. I didn't catch his name...

Suggest this movie to the youngster in your family or neighborhood. He'll be surprised you are so well-informed!