As you can see in the tag line, today will be the last day that some of my favorite “CMX Suite” strips will run. You can sort of consider them my own personal guest strips. Also, if you found the “CMX Suite” reprints this week to be enjoyable, you can find brand new ones appearing every Tuesday at Community MX.

And since I forgot to add my full review of Speed Racer to Wednesday’s blog, I will do it right now.

First, let me say that when I first watched the previews of Speed Racer on iTunes and on TV, I was worried that it was going to end up being another version of Dick Tracy. For those that never saw Dick Tracy, the movie was pretty cool to look at but didn’t really have any substance. And that’s what I thought Speed was going to be… pretty much nothing but eye candy.

And, for the first half hour or so, it looks very much that way. But if you can get past that first half hour and stay with the film, I think it is actually a pretty nice film. I can understand what the Matrix brothers were going for. The cartoon was always very campy and fantastical and so they didn’t try to make the movie be realistic. It was – quite literally – a cartoon come to life. And the racing scenes are an absolute joy to watch! I would LOVE to see this film again on an iMax screen.

But back to the review…
For long time fans of the cartoon, you should notice a few subtle nods towards in the movie. One of the most obvious was the older announcer in the yellow suit. That was Speed. Then there is the nod towards the modeling of the bad guy’s car when we first get introduced to Racer X. It wasn’t as long as the monolith car (the one made of gold) but it was obviously modeled after it. And the race in the desert was an obvious nod towards one of the best episodes in the Speed Racer cartoon series – the Transcontinental Race. Even the teams that raced in that part of the film were a nod to the crazy and wild groups that were sometimes featured in the cartoon – although none of them were directly taken from the TV show.

Some might argue that Snake – the bad guy in the desert racing portion of the movie – was taken from the cartoon series (the leader of the car acrobatic team) but if there was one part of the film I was mildly disappointed about, it was in the depiction of that character. If it was actually supposed to be Snake from the Car Acrobatic Team, I was very disappointed in the way they portrayed him. For me, Snake in the cartoon series was always sort of like an anti-Racer X. He was ultra cool and ultra bad ass but in the movie, he was cowardly and wimpy. That certainly wasn’t the “Snake” from the cartoons.

But Mathew Fox WAS Racer X. Mathew Fox is old enough to have grown up watching Speed Racer as a kid so it seemed to me that he took great care in trying to capture the monotone and harsh nature of Racer X. If you were a fan of Racer X, watching Mathew Fox’s interpretation on him is a joy to watch on the big screen.

The same really should be said for Emile Hirsh’s depiction of Speed as well. He definitely captured the innocence – and the determination – of Speed. That’s not always the easiest thing to do. And, this may be weird to say but if they decide to make a Spider-man 4 without Tobey Maguire, Emile Hirsch wouldn’t be a bad choice for Peter Parker.

I mentioned the fact that there were lots of scenes or parts of the film where the Wachowski brothers were obviously tipping their hats towards the cartoon series but one thing I’m really glad that they decided to do was to keep the spirit of the cartoon alive. They very easily could have gotten rid of Chim-Chim or decided to re-write or re-name, re-write or completely ignore Inspector Detector but they didn’t. They definitely made an effort to keep those characters in the movie in order to stay “true” to the cartoon series.

But if you’re hoping for a “Days of Thunder” version of Speed or, really, even a “Transformer-esque” version of Speed, you will be greatly disappointed in this movie. It’s certainly not Speed on the NASCAR race circuit. And although I think it would be interesting to see a Michael Bay version of Speed Racer, there wouldn’t be a Mach 5 or cool blades coming out of a NASCAR style car or a bullet proof windshield or the cool sounds of the jacks as Speed races along the side of a mountain. For me, THAT’S the essence of Speed Racer and I thought the movie really captured that spirit.