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Speed Racer

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Gabo
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By all means, go and watch Speed Racer, it's an awesome film.

Though the story could be seen as overly anti-business, I think it just ends up showing that there are good and corrupt people in every area, and it's up to the good not to default.

The use of humour is excellent. The movie has lots of tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top scenes, but the object of the humor is always something worth mocking (ninja fights, for instance, or other anime cliches). Speed's values of bravery and heroism, and the movie's (quite explicitly stated) theme of artistic integrity are taken very seriously.

The visuals are a treat. Everything in the movie occurs in a futuristic make-believe world which, bizarrely enough, leaves all the elements from the original cartoon intact. It works perfectly.

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Thanks for this comment. Emile Hirsch is an actor that impresses me very much, and I wanted to know if I should wait for the rental or go and see it. Though I would have to see Iron Man first because I hear too much good of it. And then there's Indian Jones ..

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Thanks for this comment. Emile Hirsch is an actor that impresses me very much, and I wanted to know if I should wait for the rental or go and see it. Though I would have to see Iron Man first because I hear too much good of it. And then there's Indian Jones ..

I think Speed Racer is much better than Iron Man, actually (and I'm a big fan of Iron Man in the comic books.) First of all, it has a theme. And secondly, it's much more fun!

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I think Speed Racer is much better than Iron Man, actually (and I'm a big fan of Iron Man in the comic books.) First of all, it has a theme. And secondly, it's much more fun!

Oh, hell no.

First half of Speed Racer left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. It was like having to eat lunch where before I get to good tasty parts, I have to first eat something crappy.

"Overly anti-business"? Excuse me, but this movie had one of the worst representation of business. It was very very graphical depiction of depravity of business and their lust for money and profit. Geez, in one scene, there were some dudes with dollar signs in their eyes, and those guys were slowly running in the background as Speed Racer was doing his usual business. That was just sickening. Those "businessmen" looked like mad dogs with shining dollar signs at their personal drives.

It took some serious effort to try enjoy the movie afterwards.

On another point, the movie was made very bad. One of golden rules of movie making is not to break the flow of action. This movie decided to set a record on how many times the development of action would be broken by a quick switch to a wholly different scene with an opposite mood. The first one third of the movie was just a complete mess of switching scenes back and forth, back and forth. <_<

Though, it didn't stop there. The fun of driving was almost completely killed by random movements of the cars. For the most part you couldn't even tell what was going on in the race, except for shifting colors and spinning cars. The only exception was the race in the desert, where things actually made some sense, and you could see some cool use of car technology.

The movie did have some decent parts about Speed Racer. He definitely projected many good qualities, but even then it was barely individualistic at all. It was heavily mixed with "family values" and "oh, how awesome a small family shop is compared to big evil business."

All this resulted in bad build-up of a plot, and the end just didn't feel as Speed Racer accomplished anything. The movie tried to build something up as well with replaying some quotes from the movie about various people saying various things - but it was too late.

The action was just too random to really get into it.

(Unlike Iron Man where each move could be seen and understood.)

Where good motors come out of nowhere (for the last race of Speed Racer in the movie).

The characters just didn't make sense. Why did various people decide to leave the house, etc, etc?

(Unlike Iron Man where things made a whole lot more sense.)

And the movie's theme (if you mean it in a proper sense: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/theme.html "A theme is the summation of a novel’s abstract meaning." ) was parts of good mixed with such an evil view towards big business, that it only left bad taste in one's mouth.

(Unlike Iron Man where the ending summed up everything about the theme in a such strong way that one was left with a strong feeling towards man's ability to accomplish and be proud of it.)

So, unless you can mentally block out all the negative parts, which is very hard to do, Speed Racer is a pain to watch, literally.

P.S. I cannot understand how one can think that this movie was anything better than Iron Man. Not that you would be insulting Iron Man, you would be insulting yourself.

EDIT: spelling

Edited by Olex
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Obviously, I don't agree.

Just because the villain in the movie is an unscrupulous businessman doesn't mean we have to condemn it right away--- there are unscrupulous businessmen in the world, after all. The theme of the movie is artistic integrity (since racing, at least on Speed's terms, is considered to be an art in the movie)--- performing as an end in itself, instead of as a means to raise a company's actions. So Speed does accomplish something extremely important in the end. "It's the beginning of a whole era", one of the characters say, and it's exactly that: being back to an era of racing passionately just for the sake of it.

The way the plot is expressed is fast and innovative, and not at all difficult to follow.

So in the end we are left with a movie that's far more innovative and satisfying that Iron Man. Iron Man is a good superhero movie, mind you. It's probably the best, or at least more coherent, Marvel superhero movie yet. But taking into account the source material, many more interesting things could have been done. It comes out a bit shallow in the end. The theme you mentioned about being able to be proud of one's ideas is only patchily expressed throghout the film, it requires a lot of good will from the viewer's part to actually infer it (most people will probably never think of it after watching the film). In Speed Racer, on the other hand, the theme has constant attention during the film, it doesn't come as a mere afterthought.

P.S. I cannot understand how one can think that this movie was anything better than Iron Man. Not that you would be insulting Iron Man, you would be insulting yourself.

EDIT: spelling

I thought an Objectivist would be above using intimidation as an argument.

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The way the plot is expressed is fast and innovative, and not at all difficult to follow.
I didn't complain about the plot's complexity in any way. I complain that it really didn't make sense at all on number of occasions.

For example, why did Speed decide to live home? Why did his older brother decided to do it? Why did the older brother decide to hide his identity after the good won?

The theme you mentioned about being able to be proud of one's ideas is only patchily expressed throghout the film, it requires a lot of good will from the viewer's part to actually infer it (most people will probably never think of it after watching the film).

Are you serious? What about parts of asking for a burger right after returning from the hell of being held captive? In my eyes, that was a very serious affirmation of one's values and life as a good thing. (The audience in the movie theater that I was in picked that up as well.) What about him saying "I refuse" in the face of the tyrant?

Compared that to Speed Racer who looked like a little lost kid for the most part, and yet somehow being able to say no. And even then, it wasn't because he thought about himself. He kept talking about family, and never about himself. He didn't say "I won't take the offer, b/c I don't want it." No, he said that it wouldn't be right for his family. In another scene, he answered to his dad (Dad asked: "Were you thinking of this family at all?") "But I _was_ thinking about family! That's all I was thinking of."

The implementation of "individuality" obviously fails in Speed Racer. It comes out only on an emotional level. And never on the level of explicit words that Speed Racer should have said. This is very much opposite to Iron Man who actually speaks out and says no to the face of evil.

I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

I thought an Objectivist would be above using intimidation as an argument.
I didn't mean to intimidate you. My point was that Iron Man was so much better than Speed Racer in explicit statements and actions that it would be weird not to recognize it properly.

There was no personal attack involved. Apologies, if I wasn't clear enough.

Edit: spelling and clarifications

Edited by Olex
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I didn't complain about the plot's complexity in any way. I complain that it really didn't make sense at all on number of occasions.

For example, why did Speed decide to live home? Why did his older brother decided to do it? Why did the older brother decide to hide his identity after the good won?

The first two were clear in the context of the film. The third one maybe not so much, but one could come up with possible reasons.

Are you serious? What about parts of asking for a burger right after returning from the hell of being held captive? In my eyes, that was a very serious affirmation of one's values and life as a good thing. (The audience in the movie theater that I was in picked that up as well.) What about him saying "I refuse" in the face of the tyrant?

Those are all right, but don't neccessarily have to do with a theme of "being able to be proud of one's ideas"

The implementation of "individuality" obviously fails in Speed Racer. It comes out only on an emotional level. And never on the level of explicit words that Speed Racer should have said. This is very much opposite to Iron Man who actually speaks out and says no to the face of evil.

Speed fights for racing and for his family, both of which are highly valued by him.

I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree here.

Yes, I suppose so.

There was no personal attack involved. Apologies, if I wasn't clear enough.

All right, no problem

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Actually, I wasn't planning to see it.

I've vague memories of the old cartoon, which I saw in the early 70s. What i remember most is changing the channel, or going outside to play when it came on. I didn't even know Racer X was relevant until I saw a parody on Dexter's Lab <_<

But now I'm not so sure.

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Actually, I wasn't planning to see it.

Same here. If the movie is as true to the cartoon as Gabo says it is, then I'm certain I'll dislike it. What I remember about the cartoon is how extremely cheaply it was made. I remember one time they used only two or four frames of animation to depict a guy dancing for five seconds (or was that Dexter's Lab?). Either way.

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The movie was horrible.

Iron man had an evil business man, but it was different. It was an evil business MAN. Speed racer tried to show that BUSINESS is evil. It said it all near the beginning when the father said something like, "When someone gets that much money, it corrupts a man." Complete bull.

Feeling the car... are you serious??? I wish I could figure out whats wrong with my car by feeling. This is just one of the inconsistencies in characterizations in the movie. A good driver wouldn't depend on something like that. Just as a good mechanic wouldn't create a good engine from family values. Why Speed was a good driver and why the father was a good engineer didn't make sense at all based on their other views. They don't want to build cars and race them with skill and efficiency, they want to do it with family values, which seems to be the theme of the movie.

That would be like Roark saying, "I'm sorry Keating, you don't think for yourself, but I think we can still be friends". That would completely against an individualist Roark. Sure, you could say Speed valued his family and he raced for that, but that would be rationalizing it as it was obviously trying to show the importance of families verses big business as INTRINSIC things.

I joke about the movie to my friends by imitating the father: "This engine was built from good ol' family values."

Well, I suppose the movie was better than watching a NAS car race. :)

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You are overrating the importance of family values in the movie. It´s all about racing for the sake of it versus spoiling the fun of the game by means of corruption. After all, what Speed's family did was business after all. Same with the organization that studied the crimes, which seemed to be private.

I wasn't a big fan of the old cartoon, by the way. That's why the movie to me has even more merit: they managed to make something fresh, interesting and worthwhile out of questionable source material.

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You are overrating the importance of family values in the movie. It´s all about racing for the sake of it versus spoiling the fun of the game by means of corruption. After all, what Speed's family did was business after all. Same with the organization that studied the crimes, which seemed to be private.

I wasn't a big fan of the old cartoon, by the way. That's why the movie to me has even more merit: they managed to make something fresh, interesting and worthwhile out of questionable source material.

Seeing that you present no arguments anymore, but just repeat your impressions of the movie, there isn't any point in going on here.

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I saw speed racer yesterday. If you know the Wachowski brothers, the directors of this movie. You would know that they like to add a lot of philosophy to their movies. But sometimes the end up jumbling togethore many different philosophies and then adding their own view on top. I think when they made V for Vendetta, that was pretty awsome. However here they seem to jumble things togethore again like they did in the Matrix reloaded and revolution. I don't like that fact that the dad makes the speech about money. However,the speech that the mother makes about art is an excellent discription of objectivist view on art. When i heard that, I thought right away, they must of read Ayn Rand.

I think that both speed racer and Iron man are objectivist friendly movies. I enjoyed speed racer more though. Apart from other characters in the movie Speed and Racer X where awsome heroes, with clear goal to rid of corruption in the proffesion that they love. Speed is kinda like Howard Roark, knowing what he wants to be since a very young age. And Racer X is all about justice. Though in Iron man business is portrayed much better, the actuall hero comes of as not serious. There was one scene where he talks with Iron man voice instead of his real voice. That was cool, he sounded very seriouis.

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Reading between the lines of the Newsweek review:

The gifted race-car driver Speed ... is the pure sportsman in a corrupt world of fixed races, dirty drivers... and multimillion-dollar corporate sponsors. It's a sign of Speed's purity that he turns down a sponsorship offer from the ruthless, money-worshiping head of Royalton Industries ...

But his vision of the pure and the good is not far removed from "Speed Racer"'s anticorporate (and corporate-sponsored) message. Like Speed, Mike is Mamet's portrait of the artist battling for his integrity in a fallen [i. e. capitalistic] world.

(Emphasis mine, obviously) Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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Reading between the lines of the Newsweek review:

(Emphasis mine, obviously)

Well obviously, if somebody hates Capitalism, they'll be eager to find that message in the movie. But as I said, it's not what it's all about. After all, Speed's victory is to defeat a corrupt businessman, not the racing business itself.

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Well obviously, if somebody hates Capitalism, they'll be eager to find that message in the movie. But as I said, it's not what it's all about. After all, Speed's victory is to defeat a corrupt businessman, not the racing business itself.
I don't think so. He was out to get rid of corporate involvement. The business man in it was just a representation of big business. It didn't focus solely on the bad guy as much as big business in general.

The fact is, the major theme was to make racing less "staged" and the plot-theme chosen to do this was the "innocent little guy" verse the "corruptness of big business". Hell, they tried to even put efficiency and technology in a bad light when giving a tour at Royalton Industries.

"damn big businesses destroying small businesses and taking away the fun of the game"

The same thing is actually happening in modern sports. "They are doing it for the money, not the game." Its a contradiction since the money is a representation of the value people invest in the sport. I don't even see why the whole "staged" thing was bad in and of itself since people obviously had invested money (their value) into the race still.

Royalton industries did some bad things, but they made them look intrinsically bad; not just one guy, but big business and "corporate sponsorships" in general.

I can see how someone could PICK OUT some virtue from the characters, but I don't see how someone who loves capitalism would not be completely bothered by the anti-business plot.

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I can see how someone could PICK OUT some virtue from the characters, but I don't see how someone who loves capitalism would not be completely bothered by the anti-business plot.

For me the qualities of the film outweigh the bad light under which business is shown in the movie. And anyway, it's always attacking speculation and corruption, not private enterprise itself.

It's like saying that Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" is anti-Capitalist because it favours artistic integrity intead of "the echoes of the sound of salesmen". Surely a socialist would like to see that in the song, but he would be missing the point (apart from the fact that Rush is clearly not an anti-Capitalist band, on the contrary, they're very Randian)

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For me the qualities of the film outweigh the bad light under which business is shown in the movie. And anyway, it's always attacking speculation and corruption, not private enterprise itself.

It's like saying that Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" is anti-Capitalist because it favours artistic integrity intead of "the echoes of the sound of salesmen". Surely a socialist would like to see that in the song, but he would be missing the point (apart from the fact that Rush is clearly not an anti-Capitalist band, on the contrary, they're very Randian)

I agree, rush has some good stuff.

But speed racer tried to make it something intrinsic about big business. The plot-theme one chooses in their fiction is very important and central to the events of the movie. The central conflict wasn't Speed verses the owner of Royalton, it was speed verses corporate corruption. And "corporate corruption" was represented as something innate in having lots of money.

But apart from that, I didn't even find speed that great of a character. He was good at racing and didn't even know why. He was crappy at anything else except racing which hardly makes sense without LOTS of practice. But he was shown to be nature at it, like it "runs in the family". His brother was much more virtuous since his brother understood things to a deeper degree and wasn't a one trick pony.

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And "corporate corruption" was represented as something innate in having lots of money.

Yes, and THAT is exactly the flaw of the movie.

The Royalton company was an appropriate villain all right: they were trecherous, they did away with their enemies by the use of brute force, and they fixed races in order to fulfill their purposes. The problem of the film was mislabelling this as "business" or "big business" as if it were intrinsic of a big company to behave like this.

But the problem was merely this misconception. The facts of the movie don't necessarily condemn business as a whole, only Royalton. After all, it ends with the phrase "cheaters never win" (or something like that), not "business is evil"

So, to sum up my point, I recommended the movie because in spite of this misconception, everything else left me very impressed (that the facts of the story didn't adhere to the misconception helped diminish it for me).

Mislabelling and misconceptions unfortunately occur a lot in movies, like in Transformers with "no sacrifice, no victory". While it's an evil phrase, in the context of the movie it meant something like "you won't win if you don't take risks", which is all right. But instead they chose to use the word "sacrifice", which is what many people may remember afterwards.

Until we live in a wold where Objectivism is widely spread and accepted, this is likely to keep happening. Meanwhile, one has to be able to take what is good from worthwhile pieces of art.

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After skimming over the debate so far, I felt the strong urge to come to Gabo's defense. I saw Speed Racer this past weekend and loved it.

Let me start out by saying that reaction to a film depends quite significantly on expectations. Before going in, I knew that the film had an anti-business tone, as I also know that the overwhelming majority of films have explicitly stated philosophies with which I would disagree. So, I went in specifically to enjoy the sense of life, and the aesthetic qualities of the film. On both fronts, it is an amazing work. The film is like a living cartoon, with larger-than-life direction, cinematography, and plot.

Sure, if you go into the film just looking for something to pounce on, there's plenty to find. There are explicit denunciations of business, the profit motive, and corporations; and implicit appraisals of "family values" and antitrust law. But it also contains a heroic struggle to counter a corrupt organization and restore justice and integrity. We get to watch a young man exercise his skill at racing and perform wonderfully under immense pressure. For those of you that have seen the film, think of the scene with Mom Racer, telling her son that watching him race is like viewing art. This statement is made concrete, particularly through the end of the final race, which is something quite profound.

I think that the strongly negative reaction to films such as this, with mentions of bad philosophy, is indicative of a larger problem in the Objectivist movement. There are far too many Objectvists whose first instinct is not to praise the good, but condemn the evil. Both have their deserved place, but the impression I get is that there is more of a focus on the latter, instead of the former. No, I'm not telling you to ignore reality and sanction evil. On an individual level, you'll get more enjoyment out of life by not being so instantly critical, and taking what you experience in a larger context. But also in terms of helping to spread Objectivism, we'll attract more by being positive, happy people, not bitter and cynical.

Speed Racer is a wonderful film, with a heroic sense of life and a beautiful expression of the pursuit of values.

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