How the %&!# is Speed Racer a movie about love? I am sure that is what you were asking yourself when you saw this title come up. And you would be right to question this choice. On the surface, Speed Racer was a rather poorly reviewed film that many thought was all flash, and no substance. Of course, if you remember, I told you that much of the time context is key when talking about an emotional connection to a film, and this is an example of just such a connection.
To be honest, Speed Racer isn’t a great film. I believe it is better than the 38% it received from RottenTomatoes.com, but I am not here to argue with critics. The plot is pretty standard; Speed Racer and his family must race cars in order to stick it to the man. The Racer family is assisted with the help of the mysterious Racer X. The plot is…okay, and the visual effects of Speed Racer are absolutely beautiful if you are will to accept it as “cartoony”.
The reason why I have included this particular film in a list of movies about love is because of the family dynamic, specifically the idea of being a brother. It wasn’t until I became older that I fully began to appreciate that I have two brothers. And while I will often complain about being the middle child, the truth is I wouldn’t want it any other way. Believe it or not, Speed Racer, in very broad strokes, paints of nice picture of what I like about having two brothers. The way Speed (that is the main character’s name) looks up to his older brother Rex, as though he were the example by which he should model himself, reminds me of how much I admire my own brother. At the same, Speed knows the importance of trying to be the best version of himself knowing that his little brother is looking to him as an example. Whether I was successful at it or not, I’d like to think I tried to do that with my little brother.
Maybe most of the people out there will not like Speed Racer, and I guess I can understand why, but that does not mean that the film has no merit. Regardless of my own perceptions of the film, the importance of family is a theme that is heavily represented in this film, and that’s got to be worth something. So maybe I look at Speed Racer through rose colored glasses. Maybe my own connections have made me blind to some obvious flaws in the narrative. Maybe the fact that the young Speed Racer at the beginning of the film reminds me of one of my nephews, who I don’t get to see as much as I would like, has made me sentimental when I should try and be objective. All I know is that as the hassles of life take my brothers and I in different directions, watching this movie makes me feel connected to them, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Written By Drew Martin