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Entertainment For Men

2004-12-06 01:09:06

Hot Wheels World Race

Hot Wheels World Race

Today I watched Hot Wheels World Race with my son. This was not the 110 minutes of obnoxious extended product-placement advertisement you might think it was. In fact, Aidan and I both enjoyed it quite a lot.

In short: The eccentric genius Dr. Tesla (heh) recruits 35 drivers to race 35 exotic cars over Highway 35, a racetrack older than mankind that exists in several pieces on a number of different worlds, built by ancient aliens -- approach a track entrance at 300mph and the entry portal will open up and *whoosh* you're off.

Seriously, it's better than you think it is. It ain't Toy Story, but it's about 3 orders of magnitude better than any of the Pokemon movies or any episode of Yu-Gi-Oh you care to name. It's fun, fast-paced, there are a few positive moral messages that are presented extremely well (ie, they didn't make me cringe), and it's not just one big commercial for Hot Wheels toys. Okay, there's the cars themselves, but sheesh most stores sell 'em for around $0.99US, sometimes less. I remember paying $1.49 for 'em when I was a kid back in 1969; in constant dollars they've gone down in price.

Oh, and the Main Bad Guy is actually a rather attractive (for CGI) woman. Daddy likes the Bad Girls.

This may or may not mean anything to you, but it's a Mainframe Entertainment production. Think "Pixar" but Canadian and more oriented towards television. These are the people responsible for ReBoot and Beast Wars: Transformers. Which were some pretty freakin' good television.

Getting back to the movie itself: if you read a lot of science fiction, you may find the basic premise somewhat "familiar". Probably because it's pretty much exactly the main premise of John DeChancie's Starrigger trilogy:


Starrigger




Red Limit Freeway




Paradox Alley
Which is not a bad thing. Although I wonder if DeChancie has seen this and what he thinks of it; if ya were to ask me, he deserves at least an "Acknowledgement to the works of John DeChancie" tacked on to the end credits: the resemblence is one helluva lot more obvious than the plot point Harlan Ellison threw a hissy fit over in The Terminator.

Plus I really dug the li'l drone-bot Gig, who may be a legacy of ReBoot but also strikes me as straight outta Iain M. Banks' Culture novels.