When my mom was still a young mother, she tried in many ways to instill all kinds of brainy goodness into her children. In particular, she spoke to us in French as well as English — she had minored in French in college — and she read us poetry and literate stories to help us fall asleep.
One night, she read to my sister Laura and me the poem "Winken, Blinken, and Nod." Here’s the first bit of it:
Winken, Blinken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed off on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in the beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Mom read us this pretty poem, then tucked us in and left the room.
A short time later she stopped by the door to check if we were asleep. She heard us talking quietly.
"Oh, how cute," she thought. "They’re playing that they’re Winken and Blinken, and that their beds are little boats!"
She opened the door just a little to hear what we were saying. She heard me singing, softly.
"Go, Speed Racer. Go, Speed Racer. Go, Speed Racer, go!"
This is a classic story in my family. And it affirms what you might not otherwise suspect: I am a long-time Speed Racer fan.
I’m such a long-time fan, in fact, that I seem to have subliminally blocked out the information that there’s a Speed Racer movie coming out this summer — and that it’s not animated but live action.
I can no longer block out this fact though, because the trailer has hit the Internets. You can watch it at YouTube, but the video quality is so poor there that I can’t recommend it. I encourage you to watch it on the official website or — if that balks for you, as it did for me– on the Apple website.
There are so many ways that this movie can go wrong. Live action? Really? I love Susan Sarandon and John Goodman, but are they too tall to be Speed’s parents? The movie’s logo pisses me off and there’s no way to get around that. And is a live monkey in a movie ever a good idea?
But I can’t help but be encouraged by the trailer, with its swirly graphics on the many, many spin shots, and the clipped treatment of the vocals (like overdubs!), and the oversaturated color, and the general brightness and vigor of the whole thing. It’s directed by the Wachowski brothers. Yeah, the monkey seems bad in the trailer, and everyone’s face moves too much. But the kid who plays Spritle is friggin’ perfect!
Please, please let it be good.
You seem to forget that the Pippi Longstocking movie had a live monkey.
Speed Racer gave me my first opportunity to get one over on my parents, believe me, I took advantage. My two best friends and I were huge Speed Racer fans, and made sure we got back to one of the three houses in time after school to watch. Slowly, the mothers noticed both our interest — which was kind of hard to miss — and the show’s violence, which we were pretty much oblivious to. My mom eventually said I wasn’t allowed to watch any longer, so we stopped coming to my house after school; another of the moms made a similar edict shortly after that. But the third mom was either a little more relaxed or wasn’t paying attention to what we were watching, so for the rest of the year we headed over there immediately after school. It was months before the moms caught on.
Pretty sneaky for a bunch of first-graders.
This Speed Racer smells of disaster. Now if there’s a Pippi Longstocking movie I must see it.
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