usa special
hyd scene

Some Ramblings - Speed Racer
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla
speed racer

Art form, unlike its name, is completely amorphous, lacking a fixed form, a proper shape, a defined structure and a specific boundary. A clear line drawing is art, a neat portrait is also art; in just in the same way, a cubist picture, or an abstract painting. To stretch it even further, in the artist's imagination, nude drawings of revered figures are art, using cow dung to touch up the portrait of a deity is also art. The Sanskrit phrase 'yad bhaavam, tad bhavati' (as is the interpretation, so it becomes) truly applies to art. If moral and value judgments can be left aside for a moment, art can take any shape or form, depending on the creative mind that chooses its container. There is no right or wrong here, no absolute ways of doing things. If there is an audience that appreciates a certain way of doing things, so is there that welcomes quite the opposite, and each sect is correct in its own way. This prologue is certainly warranted for the movie in question - Speed Racer.

If what constitutes art is itself a question for the ages, then its extension, what should be its form, would equally engage the talking heads for years to come. Movie, being a visual medium, any variation in the visual elements - photography, editing, special effects (conventional and computer generated), production design and many such - is bound to have a profound effect on the proceedings on the screen. Tone down the lighting a little - the mood is automatically tuned to a somber/introspective/ominous mode. Pick up a editing pace by a few frames - the action seems to get a shot of adrenaline. A subtle change in the set like bringing the walls a little closer would subliminally induce a sense of panic. All these things, however overt/covert, constantly change a straight story in ways they deem fit. The biggest addition, by far, to the tool kit of the film maker, is the computer, which has blown up both the canvas and the palette to exponential proportions to such an extent, that the only limiting factor for the film maker is his own vision and imagination.

'Speed Racer' is yet another attempt from the maker of 'The Matrix' trilogy to push the envelope of imaginations into unchartered territories, the likes of which haven't been attempted on celluloid before. A motion picture, which has thus far been defined one way, would henceforth be looked upon under a completely different light, as one that is an amalgamation of various technologies, techniques, and forms, meant to assist, advance, and even enhance the process of story telling. The story of 'Speed Racer' is pretty straight forward, but the story telling is anythng but. What started with the 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' a few years ago (a live action movie, in which actors are the only components not built by the computers, but everything else is - the sets, the backgrounds, and other interactive items in the movie), and what was so brilliantly captured in '300' a year ago (another computer generated movie that merged seamlessly live action and computer generated action), spun off as a completely different art form unto self, that stood its own ground with 'Speed Racer'. Animation interacts with live action, rear projection blends in with foreground action, computer generated imagery locks step with photo-realistic graphics. The boundaries that were laid out earlier to demarcate specific areas of appreciation in a movie, have been completely erased in 'Speed Racer', as it becomes next to impossible to make out where live action ends and play-action begins. While the sensory overload of the dazzling imagery at times works against the movie, by and far, 'Speed Racer' has made watching cars make continuous left hand turns on a race track far more interesting.

As attempts to explore new territories in film expression move along imbibing and employing the latest and the greatest in technological innovations, the question becomes more and more complex and pronounced, as to what form does film finally end up with - Interactivity? Inhabitation? or full right Immersion? If 'Speed Racer' is any indication, all those markers of the distant future aren't that far off.

More Ramblings on films
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve

Tell Srinivas Kanchibhotla how you liked the article


This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
emailabout usprivacy policycopy rightsidle stuff