He’s a demon and he’s gonna be chasing after someone.


Speed Racer
update: Sam (7) and Kit (5) made a beeline for their Speed Racer toys this morning and argued over who would get to play with the “big” Mach 5 (we own two), so I know this movie is no flash-in-the-pan. (I doubt they could even identify their Spiderwick Chronicles toys at this point).

In my never-ending quest to provide Hollywood with reliable, first-hand, home-grown responses from real moviegoers, I quizzed both Sam and Kit on their response to the movie.

DAD: So you liked Speed Racer?
SAM (zooming a Hot Wheels-sized Mach 5 along the top of a coffee table): I loved it. It was great.
DAD: What was your favorite part?
SAM: The racing. And the fight in the ice mountains. (Sam then goes on to recount a significant portion of said fight.) And a lot of it was funny, but no one in the theater was laughing.
DAD: Well, there weren’t very many people in the theater.
SAM: Yeah, but it was funny and I felt weird laughing when nobody else was.
DAD: Like what was funny?
SAM: (goes on to recount, in detail, some choice bits of anime-inspired physical comedy.)
DAD: What did you like about the races?
SAM: They were really fast, and all kinds of cool stuff happens in them. You know what it reminded me of? The pod race. (I swear I did not coach him in this discussion.) And the fight over Coruscant [in Episode III], with all the stuff happening all over the place.
DAD: Wow, it sounds like you really liked this movie. Would you want to go see it again?
SAM: Well, I loved it, but I wouldn’t want to have to sit and go through the whole movie again, just to see the parts I liked.


DAD: Kit, did you like that movie yesterday?
KIT: (suspiciously) Uh huh —
DAD: What was your favorite part?
KIT: (without hesitation) The racing.
DAD: Who was your favorite character?
KIT: (with a tinge of swoon) Speed.
DAD: You liked Speed?
KIT: Yeah.
DAD: Oh.
KIT: What?
DAD: I thought you liked Racer X.
KIT: Why did you think that?
DAD: I thought Racer X was cool, I thought you thought so too.
KIT: And I liked the — what was his name?
DAD: Spritle?
KIT: (laughing at the memory of Spritle’s antics) Yeah! And Chim-chim. They’re funny. (She goes on to recount a humorous exchange between Speed and Spritle.)
DAD: What did you think of Trixie?
KIT: Who was Trixie?
DAD: She was the girl, who flew in the helicopter, had the short black hair —
KIT: Yeah, I liked her. Oh, and Speed’s sister.
DAD: Speed’s — sister?
KIT: Yeah.
DAD: Speed — doesn’t — have — a sister.
KIT: No, the one with the short black hair. Who wore the pink.
DAD: That’s Trixie. That’s not Speed’s sister, that’s his girlfriend.
KIT: His what?
DAD: That’s his girlfriend.
KIT: (as though teaching a very small child) She’s over at his house
DAD: Well, yeah, she’s his girlfriend, she comes over to his house, she can do that. She has to come over to help build the Mach 5. (Dad’s head is swimming with all the love scenes and quasi-love-scenes between Speed and Trixie, and wondering what Kit thought was going on in them.) I like Trixie because she’s a gearhead.
KIT: What’s a gearhead?
DAD: A gearhead is someone who likes to take things apart and put them back together and build things like cars and helicopters and stuff. (Strange that this summer has, so far, offered us two gearhead movies, Iron Man and Speed Racer, within three weeks.)

It makes total sense to me that both children liked the racing, and who knows, perhaps the races even made narrative sense to them and carried their dramatic weight. Kit, predictably, responded to the characters and the humor, Sam, just as predictably, responded to the fights and the slapstick. Neither professed any interest in the racing marginalia or the corporate intrigue.

(On the way to the movie, we passed by a billboard for Prince Caspian. “You guys want to see Prince Caspian?” I asked. “Yes!” chirped Kit, but Sam exclaimed “No!” as though I had asked him if he wanted snakes in his bed.)


19 Responses to “He’s a demon and he’s gonna be chasing after someone.”
  1. adam_0oo says:

    You should ask him about a snake in his bed, kids love snakes!

  2. I’m going to have the song in my head all day now. Great.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet cause of all my traveling. Still want to.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Wachowski bros certainly put a lot of effort into making Speed Racer… the movie overall looked and felt like a cross between anime, a kaleidoscope, that Flintstones movie, a video game and the Dukes of Hazard

    • Todd says:

      The other movie that kept popping into my head was Dick Tracy, which also, I think, had a plot too sophisticated for its purposes.

      • popebuck1 says:

        The Wachowskis have a problem with overloading their movies with plot. I remember my friend Rob’s response coming out of the second Matrix movie: “Yeah, that’s what everybody wanted after the first one – a lot more scenes of everybody talking!

        • That actually is what I wanted. I almost walked out of the first movie because I was so tired of seeing people getting shot and things getting blown up.

  4. chronoso says:

    i received free tickets to see the movie in imax last wednesday. as a fan of auto racing and having always been somewhat cynically suspicious of whether all sports are fixed just so that endorsers make money, i found the “sophisticated” plot quite pleasing. the action, however, was..well, i wouldn’t say headache inducing, but it did seem a bit more over the top than it needed to me. the car scenes were fun to watch, but i kept wishing that frankenheimer had lived long enough to teach them how to film cars.

    thanks for the ricci screengrab by the way. i think her being in the movie made it worth being shot in HD and projected via imax.


    • Todd says:


      I knew there would be a whole class of people who enjoyed the intrigue of the racing world. Now I’ve met one of them.

      • chronoso says:

        really, the best part of the movie for me was the “old footage” of the historically resonant race. obviously CGI, but still looked cool and classic.

        also, when my father and i explained why they needed to build a Mach 6 at all to the non-racing members of our group.


  5. r_sikoryak says:

    I still want to see this but K. really, really doesn’t want to.
    I’m hoping for Moulin Rouge! with cars.

    And now, every time I see a Prince Caspian poster I will exclaim, “No!”

  6. teamwak says:

    I watched it last night on IMAX, and I was pretty damn impressed.

    I looked great, and racer X was pretty damn cool.

    And who would have thought the kid and the chimp would have been so funny lol. Loved Pops fighting the ninja (with flowery boxers on).

    But boy, was there some meaty monologues about corporate shananigans. Apart from the visuals, this was the other obvious called card of the wachowskis. Stood out a little badly unfortunately.

    Was also gobsmacked by the number of UK TV stars in it too (although as bad guys lol)! The Wachowskis are certainly Anglophiles now 🙂

    PS. Did you ever do a review of V for Vendetta? I really love that movie, and have been thinking a lot about it lately.

    • Todd says:

      I have not sat down to analyze V for Vendetta yet, although you can find my thoughts on the Matrix movies somewhere around here, under “futuristic dystopia movies” I believe.

      • Anonymous says:


        Hey, can we talk V for Vandetta for a minute here?
        I know I’m always miles behind the popular culture curve, but I recently read a newish comic book involving the death of a president by wacked out superheroes!
        I was wondering how that got published when my niece loaned me V for Vandetta! How did they get that movie made? And can we really save up fertilizer and subway cars in order to save the world?
        I didn’t see any names in those credits that explained a world in which that movie got made!

  7. yetra says:

    I am finding it absolutely charming that Kit was able to erase or marginalize Trixie from Speed’s romantic life. And damn, Trixie was cute all covered in grease while working on the car.

    Although, hubba hubba, my heart goes out to anime japanese racing boy. I could have used a few more scenes of him in torn clothing, covered in dirt and blood.