Go Speed Go!

Kirsten and I went to see Speed Racer last week. It wasn't a particularly late show, but we ended up having the theater all to ourselves. (Well, there actually was another couple there, but they left half way through.)

Here's the quick review: if you're looking for a good action movie or a good story or just a good movie to kill time with, this probably isn't it. Not that it was horrible (Rat Race is still my all-time worst movie although Ultraviolet is up there too.), but it just wasn't that good.

The one thing that kept me in the theater though is the compositing effects that they used to shoot the movie. In The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers gave us "bullet time" by taking near-simultaneous images from a whole string of cameras. In Speed Racer, they did compositing a little bit differently. Basically, they shot the same scene multiple times simultaneously with cameras set to different focal points. Then, in post-production, the combined the different images together to give infinite depth of field. Basically, you combine the background clouds from the camera that was focussed on the clouds, the middle distance trees from the camera that was focussed on them, and the foreground actors from their own camera. In the end, the effect is much more like a cartoon than a conventional movie.

Unfortunately, that visual effect was the only good thing the movie had going for it.