Speed Racer

My roommate took me to a BAFTA screening of Speed Racer last Saturday. I didn't know what to expect, having only seen that trippy trailer once, but walking into the cacaphony of a Saturday afternoon screening packed with really young kids should've clued me in to the target audience, of which yours truly was definitely not a member.

This is a kids movie. A kids movie. Not like a Pixar movie, which people of all ages enjoy, but a kids movie, one that left me feeling nothing. Watching the CGI-heavy auto races reminded me of watching me of watching that canyon race in The Phantom Menace. In both cases, I didn't feel anything, not a sense of speed, or danger, or excitement. Maybe it's the immateriality of digitally drawn surfaces, or the highly-attuned ability of people to sense when the physics of collisions and motion of digital vehicles are just not quite true to life.

There are some interesting visual touches that caught my eye. Some shots with a close-up of a face in the foreground and figures in the other half of the frame in the background seem as if they were shot with a split diopter, both sets of people being in such sharp focus. It's as if the DP was trying to imitate the flat, deep focus look of animation like that in the original TV cartoon series.

But for the most part, I felt uninvolved, even bored. There are times when I find I can't enjoy something targeted towards a younger audience and feel, well, old. But in this case, it's not me, it's you. Or them. Or it.