Bright, camp and colourful, Speed Racer has a strong sense of style to its choreography. Its confidence is varied and entertaining, and it makes this adaptation of the Mach GoGoGo franchise an infectiously good film. Colour bounces around the screen, like The Cat in the Hat but filtered down into likeable, bitesize chunks. A kid with an obsessed passion is overwhelmed by the outside world and what Lilly and Lana Wachowski present is the imagination of a child developed on-screen. That is, at least, a formidable excuse for how awful the CGI can look at times. It is only in the real world that it looks horrendous. To look over that is necessary when engaging with the fast-paced hijinks of the imaginative Speed Racer.
Rehashing an introduction is one way of winning over a new generation of fans while also appealing to the older ones who remember the release of the original. Balancing that line is a monumentally difficult challenge, one that director Lana Wachowski is more than capable of. Where The Matrix was a stunning feature that was soon subsumed by the larger remit of the science-fiction genre and cultural imbalances of the time, The Matrix Resurrections looks to bring a new and stylish flair to an old universe of counter-culture brilliance. “What makes Matrix different?” one games designer asks. Who knows, but what sets The Matrix Resurrections apart is its embrace of modern tricks and tropes, while also maintaining a credible understanding of the impact the original trilogy had on an ever-changing culture.
Bringing it all back to the basics we began with is no small feat of endurance. To do so we must have a story and dedicated directors working tirelessly behind the scenes, primarily in the hopes that their gamble pays off. They have chosen to hold themselves at gunpoint. Deliver the goods of a rewarding trilogy, or be decimated by the greed that comes with spinning off your own venture from a mere four years before. The Matrix Revolutions is the final piece of a very easy, dialogue-driven puzzle, but one that has been satisfying and fun to complete. Surely that is the impact directing pair Lilly and Lana Wachowski were hoping for.
It is not fair to think The Matrix sequels would be as impactful on the culture around it as the first instalment. A flash in the pan is only possible once in a blue moon, and hoping to engage with that superb style again is just not possible. The Matrix Reloaded follows on from a story that benefitted from its open ending. That clarity of there being more to the story was a realisation we understood, and an expansion we did not need. All The Matrix Reloaded can hope to do is expand on the exciting fight scenes and universe found in the final high point of 1999.
Relevant more for the discourse it has created than the story it wishes to tell, The Matrix is now synonymous with red pills, simulation theory and computer hacking hijinks. That, at least, does not remove the entertainment quality found within this feature from Lily and Lana Wachowski. At its core a fine piece of energetic action with tense, underlying pieces of commentary on the tech-crazed world of the time. One of the many signs of a good story is its relevance and reliability in the modern-day, and with The Matrix, that does feel rather inclusive of its ideas and aims. Its intent is not to scare an audience, but to produce thought and interest in the world around them. That much, this film is successful with, but it does so with the calibre of a usual Hollywood action flick.