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Catlit

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This is a fanedit sourced from the official blu-ray of Lily & Lana Wachowski’s cult classic children’s action racing film Speed Racer. It started with me just doing a color grade, and then removing a couple scenes I usually skip, and then trying to get the film down to 2 Hours. After that, I created a version that pulls out every trick in the book and cuts every corner possible, but that ended up being very choppy, even if it was only 112 minutes. This version is 117 minutes, which I can be proud enough of, considering the full movie is 135 minutes, and I made the cuts from the 112 version that I deem essential, but the little trims here and there are mostly gone… especially when they make the movie make even less sense than before.

I wanted to keep the focus on the momentum of the races, and the theme of sibling relationships. Speed's relationship to his older brother Rex, and younger brother Spritle, are the emotional heart of this movie, and the Wachowskis, being sisters themselves, nailed that. I tried my best to downplay Spritle's role as a goofy sidekick, so his role as a little brother could shine.

I also gave the film a complete color regrade. It did look gorgeous originally, but so much of the film was blown out beyond the limit of Rec. 709, and even after my regrade, the saturated colors of the art direction still pop. They just have a more glossy metallic overtone to them, which for a sci-fi car movie, I think works great. If you just want the color grade, you can find the DaVinci Powergrade file here. (movie not included, of course.)


Here's the list of changes:

  • COLOR GRADING:
  • Added Warmth, lowered saturation, adjusted brightness and gamma curves.
  • Pushed blues toward cyan and cherry reds toward fire-red.
  • Re-saturated sky and flesh tones, and desaturated muted tones.
  • Bleach Bypass with Kodak LUT added to the B&W layer.
  • Used three subtle "Glow" effects with different parameters.
  • Fine film grain added.

  • OPENING SEQUENCE:
  • Speed imagining the clock in class as a racing stopwatch is cut, and replaced with the flipbook/imaginary race sequence. Much better intro to the character.
  • We cut from Trixie smiling at Speed's imaginary victory to his Mom and Teacher talking. This was moved to be after the imaginary race sequence.
  • Speed leaving school to get picked up by Rex, who he convinces to take him to Thunderhead Raceway is cut. Instead, the teacher showing off Speed's "Go Rex Go" scantron provides an opportunity to cut to Rex and Speed at Thunderhead

  • THUNDERHEAD:
  • Rex doesn't tell Speed to drive with his eyes closed.
  • The joke where Spritle says "I don't think I can watch this", gives the binoculars to Chim-Chim, and then takes them back, has been trimmed for better comedic timing.
  • Trixie's flashback has been cut to just the scene in the garage, in order to keep the focus on the Rex and Speed story while still providing an introduction to Trixie. It's cute that in the original she stands up for him, but it also serves the plot that she sees him in the beginning and from then on they're inseparable.
  • Quicker smash-cut from young speed watching race announcers badmouth rex to him fighting bigmouth kid at school. Both of these sequences are shortened to keep momentum.

  • BREAKFAST:
  • This scene starts with Sparky reading the paper, instead of Spritle & Chim-Chim playing on the couch and answering phone calls for Speed.
  • Spritle's panic over the "earthquake" is cut down for brevity is the soul of wit.
  • As is Royalton trying to ask to be invited in over the roar of his K-Harrier.
  • Royalton is more enthusiastic about pancakes. Doesn't hesitate when offered, simply compliments instead of guessing ingredients, and doesn't even mention Cenestro Foods when talking about buying the recipe.

  • ROYALTON TOWER:
  • Spritle being offered candy, but only allowed one piece is cut, even though the Hallelujah choir does always get a big laugh. This scene sets up a subplot that just takes up too much time.
  • The scene of Royalton showing the Racers the penthouse suite before sitting them down to talk about the deal has been cut for time.

  • RACER X RESCUES TAEJO
  • brightened for visibility.

  • INSPIRATION POINT
  • moved to after Royalton and Musha negotiating a deal. It made more sense that way, and then I read the first draft of the screenplay, and that's the order these scenes were in.
  • (Fun fact: there was another scene in the script of Speed picking up Spritle from school after he gets bullied into sharing his test answers. This was probably supposed to mirror that scene of Rex picking Speed up that I cut. Speaking of Spritle...)
  • Spritle's part of the scene has been considerably shortened with some snappy editing. Quicker back & forth is just funnier to me.

  • ROYALTON'S MONOLOGUE:
  • The sequences of Spritle & Chim-Chim finding the candy jackpot, sneaking off the K-Harrier, and going for a joyride through Royalton tower have been cut. All that remains is them showing up as stowaways, and them seeing the part of the factory that makes the spearhooks. Their motivation? Well, Spritle's a nosy kid, and he did tell Royalton "We've got our eye on you, mister."
  • Some of Royalton's monologue has been chopped up for the sake of brevity now that there's no wacky hijinx to balance it out.
  • Because I cut out the whole candy thing but wanted to include a scene where Spritle sees the spearhook, I hid the chocolate on his face with a dramatic zoom on his eyes. It's very Sergio Leone, lol.
  • I cut out the scene of Speed asking Ben Burns if the '43 Prix was rigged. It was a late addition to the film, and Speed doesn't ever bring it up afterwards. It also makes the flash-forward to the Fuji Helexicon more jarring. Instead, Sparky's newspaper reading skills save this scene transition once again... even if that object wipe was a pain to rotoscope.

    CASA CRISTO:
  • Y'know, sometimes I feel like the comedic elements and the action/story elements of this movie were trying to be two different films? A lot of what I cut I enjoyed, just felt like it was unfitting. Here, when Spritle and Chim-Chim run for their lives from Racer X, "the Harbinger of Boom", the dramatic music cue is muffled behind the door while X tells Inspector Detector that this was a bad idea. I thought it would be funnier that way, and when I tried it, it gave me a laugh.
  • Spritle pretending not to be watching the race has been shortened.
  • Speed doesn't claim not to know anything about corporate crimes. I mean, he just got the whole spiel from Royalton.
  • Goodboy Jones saying the cheaters are "a few bad apples" is now narration over the montage of various cheating devices.
  • The sequence in the archways has been dramatically shortened.
  • Brightness has been boosted in the desert scenes to give the vibe of blistering heat.
  • The flashbacks of Cruncher bribing the headhunters have been cut out. There were some darling shots in those sequences, but the race flows more seamlessly without them. I feel like they took "show don't tell" a little too literally with that. Even without dialogue, it's still a cutaway for the sake of exposition.
  • The beehive catapult device has been cut out. Takes focus away from Speed and X's team moves.
  • Spritle and Chim-Chim tanning outside and then sneaking back in to watch the race has been cut. Instead, it just cuts to Pops catching them watching the race.
  • Royalton and Cruncher's phone call has been cut. Do we need it explained to us that they're in cahoots? Plus, this makes a better transition from Speed talking to X, to Speed and Trixie talking about X
  • Some of the argument between Pops and Speed has been shortened. Most notably, Spritle's "Woohoo! Room service!" line is cut.
  • The Nonja scene has been brightened for visibility.
  • Snake's snake catapult has been cut.
  • Some of the banter between Speed and Trixie has been shortened.

  • GRAND PRIX:
  • Racer X's reaction shots have been moved to later
  • The reaction shots when the camera reveals Cannonball Taylor as a cheater have been shuffled around a bit.
  • Speed being stuck with the starter overloaded is a bit snappier.
  • The first flashback Speed has in the final lap is changed to be one of himself watching Rex at Thunderhead, motivated by Spritle saying "He's gonna do it..."
    This is me trying to resolve the emotion of when Speed is about to run away and he gets flashbacks to when Rex did the same.
  • Spritle & Chim-Chim's cooties warning during Speed & Trixie's kiss is cut and replaced with a simple camera flash. The side effect is that it looks like the camera flash is what turns everything slow-mo and turns the bokeh into little hearts
  • The last orchestra hit of the score is now overlaid with the first chord of the credits music. They line up perfectly.
  • The Writer/Director credit has been corrected to just "The Wachowskis"
  • The credits have been shortened / sped up.
 

futon88

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This sounds really interesting. Are you able to share some before/after images for your adjusted color grade?
 

ArtisDead

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Your changelist is very comprehensive. Well done!
This edit is currently being reviewed for approval.
 

Catlit

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This sounds really interesting. Are you able to share some before/after images for your adjusted color grade?
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ArtisDead

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This edit is currently being reviewed by @futon88 for approval.
 

futon88

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This is very close to being ready. Honestly, it was very close right from the get-go. Just some minor tweaks, many of them of the editor's own accord. If you're a fan of the original or skeptical as to whether it can be "fixed", I recommend checking this out when it drops.
 

ArtisDead

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I concur! Very impressive. Catlit has definitely surprised us with this very polished edit. @futon88 has approved it. Congratulations, Catlit and welcome to the family! Very excited to see your next edit.
 

Catlit

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Submitted to IFDB and pending approval. Excited to share this with the forum!
 
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