Speed Racer is a 2008 American sports action film based on the Japanese anime and manga series of the same name by Tatsunoko Productions. The film was written and directed by The Wachowskis, and stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Benno Fürmann, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rain and Richard Roundtree. The plot revolves around Speed Racer, an 18-year-old automobile racer who follows his apparently deceased brother's career. His choice to remain loyal to his family and their company Racer Motors causes difficulties after he refuses a contract offered by E.P. Arnold Royalton, the owner of Royalton Industries.
The film had been in development since 1992, changing actors, writers and directors until 2006, when producer Joel Silver and the Wachowskis collaborated to begin production on Speed Racer as a family film. Speed Racer was shot between early June and late August 2007 in and around Potsdam and Berlin, at an estimated budget of $120 million. The film score was composed by Michael Giacchino, and the film's soundtrack, which contains the sound effects and theme song from the original series, was released on May 6, 2008.
Speed Racer premiered on May 3, 2008 at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was released in the United States on May 9, 2008. Although it grossed over $93 million, it was considered a box office bomb due to its production cost. It was subsequently nominated in multiple categories at the Teen Choice Awards, and was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Awards. The film was criticized for its storyline, characters and dialogue but received praise for its capacity to entertain the target audience and the performance of its cast. Speed Racer also divided critics over its use of special effects. The film received mostly negative reviews by the time of its release. Years later, however, commentators called it a cult and underrated film.
Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is an 18-year-old whose life and love has always been automobile racing. His parents Pops (John Goodman) and Mom (Susan Sarandon) run the independent Racer Motors, in which his brother Spritle (Paulie Litt), mechanic Sparky (Kick Gurry), and girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) are also involved. As a child Speed idolized his record-setting older brother, Rex Racer (Scott Porter), who was killed while racing in the Casa Cristo 5000, a cross-country racing rally. Now embarking on his own career, Speed Racer is quickly sweeping the racing world with his skill behind the wheel of his brother's cars, the Mach 5 and his own Formula One car the Mach 6, but remains primarily interested in the art of the race and the well-being of his family.