Wednesday, May 14, 2008

He Does It Because He's Driven

Aside from being intermittently bothered by action spectacle that was too frenetic to mentally process, I quite enjoyed the Wachowski Brothers' SPEED RACER. Anyone who tells you it's profound is pulling your leg, but it's a clever adaptation of anime to... (ha! I almost called it "live action") something else, a kind of psilocybin cotton candy, the sheer vertiginous beauty of which at times engenders feelings not unlike rapture of the deep. A good point of comparison is Joel Schumacher's BATMAN FOREVER -- as my late friend Radomir Perica told me, maybe it's not a good movie, but it is a masterpiece of visual design. (In other words, Schumacher dropped the ball, but his production designers were at the top of their game.) Therefore, if you have an artistic bone in your body, SPEED RACER is something you should see, just to see how some other cutting edge artists of the moment are thinking graphically. Be aware, though, that the racing cars drive sideways more often than straight ahead, and the chimp gets down with some screaming kung fu. The connoisseurs among you will appreciate that Emile Hirsch (as Speed) and Matthew Fox (as Racer X) actually sound like Peter Fernandez.

There's an interesting little thread about the movie over on the Mobius boards that provoked the following Ballardian outburst from Yours Truly, worth preserving here:

Someday, long after we are all gone (maybe sooner), all the digital mapping done of actors like Christina Ricci to achieve scenes in movies like this will be reused to create super-realistic fetish videos in three-dimensional, interactive, holographic PalpaVision. No plot, just light and shadow and synthetic flesh. It's inevitable, given the ways of devolution, that the trend of remakes will eventually devolve to three-dimensional re-imaginings and re-explorations of individual scenes and shots. Movies like SPEED RACER are a training ground to get us there.

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