The most inventive “live-action cartoon” movie?
The bright, color-manipulated sets ensure that we don’t take the action seriously for even a second – which is good, since the movie is a fairly faithful adaptation of the horrendous Speed Racer series, in which the mysterious Racer X is actually Speed’s brother. The movie’s main contribution (besides toning down the part of Chim-Chim) is a twist: Racer X turns out not to be Speed’s brother! But wait, another twist: Racer X is really Speed’s brother!
Not toned-down: Spritle
Evil racers with dollars in their eyes:
Speed is Emile Hirsch, having a big year with this between Into the Wild and Milk, with Christina Ricci as Trixie. His overqualified parents: Susan Sarandon and John Goodman (dressed like Super Mario). Rain (I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK) is a friend/enemy/informant/fall guy, Royalton (Al Gore-looking Roger Allam of The Angels’ Share and V for Vendetta) is the corporate baddie, and Matthew Fox (TV’s Lost) is Racer X, who is emphatically not Speed’s brother (yes he is!)!!!
Christina Ricci is a horribly deformed girl with a pig nose. That’s the premise, anyway… maybe I’m a pervert, but I thought Ricci still looks extremely cute, even with the pig nose. Katy says that might be the point. Movie has got me all confused about myself and my image of women!
That guy who is in everything yet I can’t ever remember him because he looks and acts completely unremarkable (not Shia The Beouf, that other guy) stars as a loser gambler who gets to know Penelope before he sees the nose, and so learns to love her for her true self. But originally he was hired by Peter Dinklage to spy on Penelope, and when she finds out, misunderstandings ensue! As Penelope’s parents, Catherine O’Hara and Richard E. “How To Get Ahead In Advertising” Grant have nothing much to do, but it’s nice to see them. Inexplicably shelved for a couple years before its video release, this is a harmless Reese Witherspoon-produced chick flick with very Pushing Daisies-looking production values and plenty of Peter Dinklage being his adorable self (with an eyepatch!). If there was a Retarded Ratings Scale just for chick flicks and kids movies, this would score pretty high.
Producer Reese lends her star power to the beleaguered flick. Note that is a mask.
Here’s without the mask:
ALWAYS nice to see the smiling face of Nick Frost: