There's been much buzzing around the Cinematical virtual office over the past few days about Speed Racer. James pretty much liked it (for a kids' movie), Scott pretty much hated it, and Eugene seems, well, a bit disappointed. We just got back from taking the crew to see Speed Racer.
Last week at the same time, we were at Iron Man, and the theater was almost completely packed, with only front row seats left by the time the previews started. This week, same time, exact same theater, even, and there were maybe 20 people total. And I have to say, if the Wachowskis are aiming for the kiddie market with this film, as many seem to think, I think they've largely missed their mark. Aside from the largely empty matinee theater, there were a couple of signs during the screening that this movie wasn't playing well to the kiddie set.
For one thing, with a running time of over two hours, the film is just way too long to hold the attention of kids, especially through the largely inane and boring dialog. My own attention was wandering less than half an hour in; by the 2/3 mark of the film, my kids -- who last week were utterly and completely enraptured by Iron Man from start to finish -- were wiggling, shifting in their seats, and asking for frequent potty breaks. Never a good sign. They dug the race scenes, mostly, but almost every time the talking started, so did the wiggling and looking away from the screen. The most engaged they were for the entire thing, actually, was during the scenes of the monkey over the closing credits -- then they got up and danced to the theme song. And it wasn't just my kids; there was lots of fidgeting going on throughout the theater, from adults and kids alike.
I asked my kids what they thought of the movie and how it compared to Iron Man after they'd had a chance to digest it. Their verdict? It was okay, mostly fun, but way too long, way too much talking, not enough cool racing -- and Iron Man was way cooler. The main thing they cared about with Speed Racer was: when is the video game of it coming out? And that's pretty much what the movie felt like to me, too -- a two-hour advertisement for a cool video game -- made by people dropping many, many hits of acid with espresso-shot chasers.
So ... what did your kids think of Speed Racer? And if they also saw Iron Man, which did they like better?