Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
Our amigos at First Showing directed us to these new lysergic images from the Wachowski Brothers‘ Speed Racer. The still above makes me want to sink into an altered state and get a $50 car wash with a $5 Sweet Pear air freshener. That’s a first. These images will appear in an upcoming cover story of EW, complete with fresh explanations of the film’s divisive green screen special effects included below. Every time we scoff at this movie, it pulls Slashfilm back in (and vice versa)!
“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 in 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 the early days [of anime]. there are actually photographic elements flying past the road.”
More images and “car-fu” effects descriptions after the hop…
Discuss: Not sure about you, but I think Kim Libreri’s Out Run reference is quite ace. Is there another film that did the “candy store aesthetic” better than what you’ve gleamed from Speed Racer?
“You’ve heard of kung-fuâ€“and there’s plenty of it in Speed Racerâ€“but how about car-fu? “[The brothers] realized that real racing wasn’t what they were after,” says Muhen Leo, an effects supervisor. “So the idea of cars fighting one another came about early on. The idea is that drivers have such elaborate control over the cars that they could do kicks and spins and hit each other.”
Because the actors weren’t really racing, they were plopped instead into hydraulically-controlled cockpits that would bob and weave in real time along with what the cars were supposed to be doing on screen. “We gave the directors a joystick that would allow them to simulate other cars bumping into them,” says Leo.