Speed Racer is a 2008 American action film based on the Japanese anime and manga series Speed Racer by Tatsunoko Productions. The film was written and directed by The Wachowskis, and stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon,
Speed: Racing hasn’t changed, and it never will.
Racer X: It doesn’t matter if racing never changes. What matters is if we let racing change us. Every one of us has to find a reason to do this. You don’t climb into a T-180 to be a driver. You do it because you’re driven.
Trixie: Oh my god, was that a ninja?
Pops Racer: More like a NON-ja. Terrible what passes for a ninja these days.
Speed: [driving] Racing hasn’t changed. And it never will.
The plot revolves around Speed Racer, an 18-year-old automobile racer who follows his apparently deceased brother’s career. His choice to remain loyal to his family and their company Racer Motors causes difficulties after he refuses a contract offered by E.P. Arnold Royalton, the owner of Royalton Industries.
The film had been in development since 1992, changing actors, writers and directors until 2006, when producer Joel Silver and the Wachowskis collaborated to begin production on Speed Racer as a family film. Speed Racer was shot between early June and late August 2007 in and around Potsdam and Berlin, at an estimated budget of $120 million. The film score was composed by Michael Giacchino, and the film’s soundtrack, which contains the sound effects and theme song from the original series, was released on May 6, 2008.
This is the first time the Wachowski Brothers have filmed a movie in high-definition (HD) film. With this format, they could utilize a layering approach that gave equal clarity to the foreground and background of each scene in the film, creating the appearance of real-life anime.
A working drivable Mach 5 automobile was constructed for the film. It was hung from a crane for its driving sequences. The rest of the racecar automobiles were completely computer-generated, with the actors sitting in a gimbal, a racecar cockpit with a computer-programmed hydraulic system.
After winning a race, Speed Racer jumps out of his car while it’s still moving and strikes a pose as his car slows and stops just behind him; in addition, the lights flashing in the grandstand behind Speed briefly dissolve into a red-yellow checkerboard background. This scene replicates the trademark pose of Speed Racer in the opening credits of Speed Racer (1967).