It would be petty and small to hold against The Wachowski’s and refuse to see Speed Racer based on the mismanagement of The Matrix trillogy.

Still – I have to wonder if some of that was in play this weekend consider the movie’s second place finish at the box office. It’s share of the pie was $20.2 million. Under normal circumstances, that would be quite respectable. Even in the face of Iron Man’s $100 million bow a week ago (and it’s 50% drop off this week) you wouldn’t fault Speed Racer for making an honest attempt.

The clencher is that the Cameron Diaz / Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy boiler plate What Happens In Vegas… was nipping at their heels wth $20 million. Long term, this can’t be good for Speed Racer.

When I first saw the trailer for Speed Racer, visually I thought it was a marvel. If anything, the extensive and experimental CG work is what was going to get me through the door. The Wachowski’s pedigree in this era has already been firmly established. What would they come up with next?

But as time went on, my enthusiasm for the film faltered. The marketing of the film couldn’t seem to decide if it was a kids movie or a straight up action picture. As reviews started filtering in, the consensus was that it was a kids film – which is fine. But we were also being told that it was over two hours long – entirely too long for a film with a threadbare plot. After that, the bottom fell out and I lost interest.

After a while, however, I started to feel guilty about not wanting to see Speed Racer. It seemed unfair to hold it up against the last two Matrix movies. Maybe they were going in another direction? Maybe I would kick myself for missing it. The 35% positive score at Rotton Tomatoes seemed to reflect a williness for critics to hate this movie out of the gate and, admittedly, I saw a lot of that reaction online as well. I became convinced that Speed Racer wasn’t getting a fair shake.

I wasn’t able to make it to Speed Racer this weekend. Instead I saw Iron Man for the second time with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. By the time I was weighing my options and considered going on Sunday night, box office reports were in and things looked dire.

I feel somewhat lame admitting that I was influenced by Rotten Tomatoes and box office figures, but I never felt a strong affinity for Speed Racer and – if I went at all – it would be more out of some sort of geek-cred obligation. The stats and figures eventually supported my decision in a way that I felt was fair. You can’t argue with the numbers.

I know some people will dispute me. After all, I’m the guy who was ready to follow Iron Man into hell. If the movie sucked, I would have denied it to my dying day. I’m sure there are some people who feel the same way about Speed Racer. Personally, I would love to hear that perspective. It may not be too late to change my mind. But we’ll see.

Tonight on The Triple Feature talkcast, we’ll be talking about Speed Racer and – from what I’ve heard – Joe loved it. Joe can sometimes be a little sensitive about explaining why he liked a film when he’s in the minority, so we’ll have to see if we can coax it out of him. I’m really most interested in understanding what I’m missing. Barring that, you can always go to his site and read his review.

We’ll also be talking about next week’s big release Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. More specifically, I will be talking about the re-release of the original films on DVD in stores tomorrow. I received advanced copies and Cami and I watched all three films last week. I have some particular insights about the extras included with this release and plan on sharing them tonight. There will also be a full review here on the site tomorrow.

Remember, the show starts at 9:00 PM CST and you can participate LIVE. So if you saw Speed Racer over the weekend and want to chime in, please do so! We’d love to hear your thoughts!

See you then!

↓ Transcript
So what did you do this weekend?

Saw Iron Man for the eleventh time.

No surprise there.

Yeah, I thought maybe I should see Speed Racer. But I heard it was 2 hours long and it looked like a Willy Wonka NASCAR fever dream.

Looks like you weren't the only one with that opinion.

I heard it basically tied for second at the box office with What Happened in Vegas.

I almost feel bad for it...

Then I think about how the Wachowski Brothers ruined the Matrix franchise and I feel angry instead.

Good point.