If the Wachowskis had been any less committed to this film, it would have failed - and I'm not talking commercially, because I know it did that. I thought Speed Racer was pretty excellent, actually. A truly live action cartoon, the world of Speed Racer was brought to life in a complete way, with an OCD-level attention to detail and a firm commitment to creating a completely believable, completely artificial world. This movie is why adults (*cough* me) still read comic books and still play video games - fun is not just for children.
I think I liked everything about this movie - of course the visuals, but also the TV/anime-inspired effects, the flashbacks, even the convoluted, dark plot. It's a shame that this was such a nightmare to market, because I think the Wachowskis did something really amazing and ballsy here.
Also, I really liked the casting and acting. Everyone seemed to successfully tread the fine line of giving a performance that was realistic enough that you could actually believe in it, while still channeling the essential cartoonishness of the picture. I was pretty intrigued by Emile Hirsch (oh yea, I liked him in Milk, but I haven't seen Into the Wild). John Goodman was great, looking rather trim. I want Susan Sarandon to be my mom, and Christina Ricci basically looks like a white anime character anyway. And I know the Spritle character could be annoying, but I really didn't mind, and I can't get enough of little boys who look like old men, they just crack me up.