Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Speed Racer

Opening the week after Iron Man, the Wachowski brothers' race-car movie flopped at the box office. What can we say? Not every avant-garde FX masterpiece receives instant audience validation. This tale of a family of racers — Racer is the family name — exists simultaneously in the 1950s and today, in a live-action world and its own complementary alternate cyber-universe. Operating a pitch of delirious precision, the movie is a rich, cartoonish dream: non-stop Op art, and a triumph of virtual virtuosity. Maybe a lot of civilians didn't go see the picture, but you can bet it attracted the smart boys in Hollywood. They will pilfer its effects and, by next summer, produce a domesticated, more palatable version. My advice: Don't wait for the rip-offs; accept no substitutes. Speed Racer is the future of movies, on DVD now.