Monday, 12 May 2008

Head scratching

I remain deeply puzzled at the reaction to Speed Racer from both critics and public alike. In the US the film made a "disappointing" $20 million this weekend, while in the UK the film pulled in less than $800,000, a poor return that couldn't even be blamed on the glorious weather we've been having for the last few days since Iron Man, in its second weekend, made more than $4 million. And while I continue to encounter other film journalists who responded to the film the way I did, the overall critical consensus is that the film sucked. Total Film gave it two stars (out of five), Empire managed one more, Anthony Lane in The New Yorker called it "Pop fascism" — not that I expected Lane to like it but even so — while currently on Rotten Tomatoes it's running at a low 36%. Go figure.

10 comments:

Gerard said...

"Pop fascism"?

Go check out the forum on the IMDB or the talkback at /Film. Seems the majority of cinemagoers who've actually made the effort really enjoy the film.

Gina said...

My sister and I went out to see Speed Racer Saturday night, we THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. We pretty much wanted to watch it right after walking out of the theatre. Obviously this film is great fun, no doubt, but it's also some of the best editing and scoring I've experienced. Everything was cut together so perfectly. Me and my sister were holding our breaths for a good half of the film, and we had smiles plastered on our faces the entire time. Sure, the script was lacking but I think the actors were able to hold it together well enough to make it work alright. This will be a film I re-watch nightly. (note: I watch 'fun' shows/movies as I go to sleep. Galaxy Quest was last night!)

Gerard said...

I've just started getting some reviews work for a website over here, and I'll be seeing Speed Racer on June 1st. Can't wait!

And Gina - if both you and Mark loved it, I daresay I'm in for a treat!

Mark Salisbury said...

Congratulations on the reviewing gig Gerard — I'll look forward to reading them. And enjoy SR when you finally see it. This film is one of the most divisive I've seen for a long while. Kind of like Ang Lee's Hulk. Have you seen they've downgraded the US gross to $18m plus change? It's now third after IM and What Happens In Vegas. Yikes!

I have one word for Galaxy Quest — genius. I love that movie. The cast are all great, but Sam Rockwell was particularly wonderful.

And talking of go-to-sleep films. Do you plan them in advance Gina, or are they always spur of the moment choices?

Gerard said...

Cheers Mark! It's more self-sustaining and for the sake of experience at this point (ie, unpaid, so not really 'work,' actually, but I get to see things for free and a few weeks before they're released here - The Orphanage is tomorrow night and I can't wait!), but I'm really pleased about it. The site it's for is quite a prominent arts industry resource over here, so it's very cool. As it turns out, keeping the blog has been good for something after all!

It's really doing my head in just how divisive A KID'S MOVIE seems to have become. I was about to chime in about the final tally - I just don't see how it could have tanked so spectacularly.

I'm with you both on Galaxy Quest! I only finally picked it up on DVD a few months ago, though my scriptwriting tutor at uni was very fond of using it as an example.

J.D. said...

Well, I think that SR failure at the box office may be due to younger audience members avoiding a film they no nothing about probably not having seen the original cartoon. It also isn't starring a big marquee name (Emile Hirsch?) to draw people in. Basically, it is being marketed as a film by creators of THE MATRIX and there's been a lot of ill-will towards them after RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS failed to live up to the hype.

It looks like the studio is gonna take a BIG hit on this one as they spent upwards of $300 million (including marketing). Ouch.

Mark Salisbury said...

Opening it Mother's Day weekend in the States may not have be helped either but Warners are going to feel the sting on this one because not even international is going to save them. Then again, I'm sure the Blu-Ray will sell like hotcakes later in the year — as long as they bring down the prices of hi-def TVs before then.

And I'm sure the critical slamming is, in part, a Matrix sequel backlash.

Gina said...

Congrats on the reviewing gig, Gerard! And yes, you surely are in for a treat. :) And I hope it's not hard on your eyes, though I don't get what everyone is complaining about with the colors and such. The only thing that very VERY slightly annoyed me was not seeing the car[s] in focus a lot. But that was probably because the IMAX nearby here isn't as IMAX-y as the really good ones. I had never been to it before and didn't realize it was going to be of lesser quality. :\

Mark... well, as far as tv shows goes, if I'm marathoning a show, I'll play that by default. (Atm: Alias s2, Freaks & Geeks, Buffy s4, and I recently finished s1-2 of The Closer.) But the 'fun picks' are the current episodes of "The Office" Uk or US, and "It's Always Sunny..." gets a few plays now and then, too. Technically it's spur of the moment, but I have a choice few I prefer. Movies - very spur of the moment, but usually mentioned in conversation with a friend that day.
Do you ask because you do the same? Or simply curious?

Gina said...

Whoops! Didn't change that sentence after I shortened it. Obviously I meant current episode of The US Office, and sometimes I'll watch the UK. Though I overplayed that one a couple years back when I originally swore off the US. ;)

Mark Salisbury said...

I'm the same when I'm trying to plough through a TV box set, but in recent years I've found that I prefer watching movies (at home) during the day (ok, I'm lucky that I have a job that allows me to do that) whereas evenings are more about playing catch up with all the TV shows I've recorded. In the past, though, I could watch movies endlessly at night, one after another...