In Time Magazine’s list of the Top 10 films of 2008, critic Richard Corliss has included the much maligned Speed Racer in the number 9 position, right after Iron Man and before Werner Herzog’s documentary Encounters At The End Of The World.
When it was first released, Speed Racer was savaged by many critics (37% on Rotten Tomatoes) who had trouble connecting with the incredible alternate reality that the Wachowski Brothers had created for the film. Released in the immediate wake of Iron Man, Speed Racer didn’t really get a chance to find an audience and quickly flamed out at the box office. I think I was one of the few critics who wrote positively about the film.
Normally I don’t place much stock in year end “Best of” lists, which is why we generally don’t do them here. And it would be easy to say that I’m only writing about this because Corliss happens to agree with me when he states that Speed Racer is “avant-garde FX masterpiece.” Well, OK, maybe there is a little of that here.
I had a chance to watch it again this past weekend. It was a viewing that only reaffirmed my feeling that the film will eventually undergo a critical reevaluation at some point. But I also have to wonder if Corliss’s act of naming the film to his Top 10 list will be the kickstart of that reevaluation. Corliss states that much of what the Wachowski Brothers do visually in the film will invariably be ripped off by other filmmakers. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than I can’t wait to see Speed Racer to start receiving the adulation it truly deserves.