Filmmakers in Hollywood fight all their lives for the right of self-determination, the freedom to be an artist. The Wachowski brothers, those shadowy Matrixsmiths of impassive, sunglasses-at-night pizzazz, have fought for that right and won. Their hands untied, they can make bold choices. And they have chosen… er… Speed Racer.
Now I’m not disputing the legitimacy of that choice: If Hollywood can make a Transformers movie with a straight face, then vintage jet-age anime is certainly fair game. And The Matrix Reloaded demonstrated nothing if not a new and supercharged approach to that hoary convention, the high-speed chase. (Actually, that should read “demonstrated nothing BUT…”)
But dude, if you could make anything in the world — anything, now — would you do Speed Racer? Certainly there are richer veins to mine. Why not exhume and ruin Working Girl, for example? Oh that’s right — someone’s already on that.
Here’s the weirdest part: Vince Vaughn was once attached to thisproject, and may still be. Rumor is, he’ll do a cameo as Racer X,Speed’s mysterious rival/ally. Vaughn plus The Wachowskis in ananime-derived action flick… I cannot image the tone of this film. But Iam, in spite of myself, intrigued. My opinion, though? You’ll neveroutdo the best Speed Racer update of them all: Robert Smigel’s "Go, George Clooney!" from Saturday Night Live.
Long as we’re on the subject of potentially bad ideas for adaptedJapanimation: Where’s my Voltron movie, already? I know the Lions hadthat falling out a long time ago (was Yoko bad for Black Lion? Thedebate rages on…). And I think the Green one had either a sex change ora religious experience, but surely, for the right money, you could getthem all hooked up again.