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Speed Racer By Andy And Larry Wachowski

2061 words - 8 pages

Many people who grew up in 1960s and 70s with watching the Japanese animated television series by Tatsuo Yoshida would be very familiar with Speed Racer by Andy and Larry Wachowski in 2008 (American Film Institute Catalog, 2008). As a big hit in the summer of 2008, Speed Racer was considered as a box office bomb because it failed to break even at the box office and received generally negative reviews from film critics such as A.O. Scott and Jim Emerson. The Wachowski brothers were criticized in the conventional sense of cinema; however, it did succeed in its technological innovation and digital novelty (Emerson, 2008). As the rise of subculture in the American popular culture, Speed Racer did appear to satisfy and entertain the certain group of people who enthusiastic about the film including fans of Wachowski and gamers. Therefore, this refers to the reading of a film. Different approaches to read a film will result in different perceptions and conclusions. The French New Wave director Francois Truffaut argued that the authorship should be presented in the works of the best filmmakers. Nonetheless, this essay will focus on why the semiotic approach to read a film offers a better way to understand the American popular culture than the auteur theory even the semiotic theory may contain bias sometimes.
According to the semiotic theory, everything in a cinematic image is also a sign which meaning can be generated by different reading of it. Due to the components of the signifier and the signified as a sign, they all work together sufficiently to function in encoding the information in order to let the spectators to decode the carried meaning. The semiotic approach can help us to better understand Speed Racer in the American popular culture. For instance, the film Speed Racer itself as a whole is a sign. Suppose it comes with a poster, so the signifier would be a guy is driving a fancy racing car. The signified would be the recreation of the popular anime television series several decades ago including Speed’s Mach 5 faithfully replicated from the Japanese anime series. The most interesting point in semiotic reading is that it requires the personal knowledge, experience and cultural background to decode the massage carried by the film text. For those people who did not grow up in 1960s and 70s or with strong enthusiasm with Tatsuo Yoshida’s series they may criticize Speed Racer as a film that can be watched with sound off because of an excess of special effect and lack of integrity of narration (Emerson, 2008). It is almost the same as what A. O. Scott pointed that when it comes to storytelling, the film Speed Racer has nothing in common with its title (A. O., 2008). However, this refers to another understanding in the way of the semiotic theory.
As what mentioned before, different people may have different understanding of a same film text from different perspectives. Therefore, it is reasonable to explain why Speed Racer received all kinds of...

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