USA Today has revealed the first image of Speed's Mach 5 for next summer's live-action Speed Racer, and so far so good. Written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, the only thing scaring me at this point in time is that the plan is for this to be an all-out family comedy. Since the original Speed Racer cartoon was, essentially, one long acid trip -- and the Wachowski Bros. aren't exactly known as the guys you hire to entertain kids at a birthday party -- I'm damn curious to see how they plan to pull this off. Screw the work they did on V for Vendetta, Speed Racer is their follow-up to the Matrix trilogy; my hope is that this film, like the original Matrix, does some wicked things with effects -- that's the only thing that will save us from going, "Man, why did the Wachowski's have to do a silly kids film?"

Apart from the pic, USA Today also spoke with Emile Hirsch (who plays Speed) and producer Joel Silver by phone, as they gear up to begin production in Germany next week. Regarding the Mach 5, Hirsch said: "It was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. That's when I started thinking it would be great to be on TV. And have one of those." Silver told them that the flick will have a "retro future" look, and that the Mach 5 will not see a lot of time on the ground; instead, it will be placed on a crane and the majority of filming (I imagine) will take place in front of a green screen. Another interesting sidenote (and one that makes me feel slightly better) is that Chim Chim will be played by a real monkey, and not some digitally-created animal. Starring Christina Ricci (as Trixie), John Goodman (as Pops), Matthew Fox (as Racer X) and Susan Sarandon (as Mom Racer), Speed Racer will bolt into theaters on May 9, 2008.