'Speed Racer': Exclusive Images!

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  1. Peep a batch of new pics from the eye-popping Wachowski summer flick.

    (Pictures and text from Rotten Tomatoes, EW.com and Wikipedia)

    Here he Comes! Here comes Speed Racer! And here comes Emile Hirsch, playing the title character in Andy and Larry Wachowski's homage to the much-loved Japanimated TV series about a boy and his race car, the brothers' first film as writer-directors since 2003's Matrix Revolutions. "Larry and Andy said they always thought [the tv series] was one of the most visually interesting cartoons when they were growing up" said Hirsch. In these exclusive photos from the film (out May 9), it's easy to see the duo have splashed that feeling all over the big screen - in ultra-vivid, eye-burning technicolor.

    Speed Racer was invented in the 1960s by a Japanese comic book artist named Tatsuo Yoshida, who named his manga and TV show Mach Go Go Go. An American TV syndicator bought the rights, Go was renamed Speed and the re-dubbed series debuted stateside in September of 1967, spending nearly two decades in reruns.

    No, this isn't a real race track, and Speed's trusty Mach 5 isn't a real race car. The directors and their visual effects crew - many of them Matrix veterans - chose to build the movie's physics defying grands prix inside the far less inhibited confines of their computers instead.

    But yes, that's a real monkey. Fans of the TV show already know him as Chim Chim, the pet of Speed's younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt). Both often enjoy hiding in the trunk of Speed's car. Those rascals!

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  2. Working almost exclusively on green-screen sets was challenging, says Christina Ricci, who plays Speed's sidekick/girlfriend Trixie, but "everybody had a really great sense of humor about the whole thing. The brothers were just like, 'Okay! Yes. You can't see it, but, um, today you'll be in the snow.'"

    Matthew Fox (Lost), plays Racer X, an enigmatic figure in the World Racing League who shows an unusual interest in Speed Racer's success. Could the two be connected by something more than just a love of insanely fast cars? (Um, duh.)

    Fox spent two months working in Racer X's distinctive voice in the movie. "I was sweating it pretty hard," says Fox. "Those blade glasses are very dark . . . and without the use of your eyes, you're finding other ways of making the audience find out who this person is."

    You heard of kung-fu - and there's plenty of it in Speed - but how about car-fu? "[The brothers] realized that real racing wasn't what they're after," says Muhen Leo, an effects supervisor. "So the idea of cars fighting one another came about early on. The idea is that the drivers have such elaborate control over the cars that they could do kicks and spins and hit each other."

    "I was really only familiar with [Speed Racer] because of the hipster chic of it," says Ricci, "and the Geico commercial, embarrassingly enough. But for years and years, people have been saying [to me], 'Ooh, you look like anime, you should do a movie version of Speed Racer.'"

    If these photos are looking a bit more two-dimensional than usual, that's by design. The Wachowskis "wanted to incorporate some of the limitations of '60s cell animation into the movie," says Leo. Explains fellow effects supervisor Kim Libreri: "The backgrounds are mostly from photographic elements that have been shot from locations around the world [and then] intensely processed to be super-colorful and super-contrasty."

    "Do you remember the 1980s video game Outrun," asks Libreri, "with the palm trees flying past? A lot of the movie looks like that. But instead of using painted elements that they used in the early days [of anime] there are actually photographic elements flying past the road."

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  3. The Mach 5 is equipped with all kinds of special hidden gagets to help Speed during a race, including an emergency spare tire that re-inflates on the wheel and hydraulic jacks to fling the car over almost any obstacle.

    Two more photos, plus cool close-ups of most of the pictures I posted can be find here:


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  4. The trailer for this movie looks wild! I love that Matthew Fox is in it. :graucho::heart: