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(2008), PG [Hard 13-PG*] (2hr 03min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 8, 2008
May 10, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2008), PG [Hard 13-PG*] ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros. Pictures, Anarchos Productions, Silver Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures
Distribution (US): Warner Brow. Pictures
Director(s): Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Producer(s): Bruce Berman, Grant Hill, Michael Lambert, Roberto Malerba, Henning Molfenter, David Lane Seltzer, Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Charlie Woebcken
Written by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Tatsuo Yoshida
Cinematography/Camera: David Tattersall
Music: Michael Giacchino
Film Editing: Roger Barton, Zach Staenberg
Casting: Anja Dihrberg, Lora Kennedy, Lucinda Syso
Production Design: Owen Paterson
Art Direction: Hugh Bateup, Marco Bittner Rosser, Stephan O. Gessler, Sebastian T. Krawinkel, Anja Müller
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Speed Racer (PG) is a very good example of how the MPAA rates films by focusing on only the most extreme morally offensive content without one apparent concern for the potential of lesser examples of morally offensive content to be just as morally corruptive.

Specifically, a film with many seemingly innocuous examples of morally invasive content can be (and sometimes is) more corruptive than a film of the same length with fewer but more extreme examples of morally invasive content. Consider for example Movie A which presents 100 seemingly innocuous examples of assault on morality/decency each worth only 10 "bads." Now consider same-length Movie B which presents only 10 examples of moral assault but of the extreme nature each worth 100 "bads." Each movie presents 1000 "bads." Thus each of the two above example films has equal potential for morally reshaping the viewer. The image below displays this concept pictorially:

Speed Racer is an example of Movie A which contains the same envelope of ignominy as Movie B but is typically rated less severe. See CAP Rule of 1000 for more information on this technique of loading a film.

Constantly day-dreaming about racing cars, young Speed Racer (Nicholas Elia) fidgets and squirms while taking a test at school, biding his time until older brother Rex Racer (Scott Porter) arrives to pick him up in the Mach Five race car built by the Racer family, aka Racer Motors. After Rex picks up Speed, Rex is constantly bombarded with pleas from Speed for Rex to let Speed get his hands on the car. Deceiving their father who has forbid Speed from going to the track without him, Rex takes Speed for a few laps and gives him a few pointers about driving a race car. From that point Speed is hooked. But not long after this, Rex is killed in a race.

Speed (now Emile Hirch) still lives with Pops (John Goodman), Mom (Susan Sarandon), young Spritle (Paulie Litt) and older brother Sparky (Kick Gurry). While a young lad, little Trixie (Ariel Winter) befriends Speed as the other kids besmirch the name of Rex as a cheat and coward. The pair become inseparable and as the years go by Trixie (now Christina Ricci) is as much a "member" of the household as any of the Racers.

Speed eventually wins a top profile race and people start noticing him. One is business magnate E. P. Arnold Royalton (Roger Allam) who wants Speed to race for him. But Speed is not so sure he wants to race for Royalton Industries. Royalton has no interest in the sport, just the money whether earned legally or not. Speed is in it for the sport. So, even after Royalton spares no expense on wooing and pampering Speed, Speed turns Royalton down and a war begins. Corporate crime, fixing of races and manipulation of family holdings start to crumble the Racer family.

From ten years before comes Inspector Detector (Benno Fürmann) but now with Racer X (Matthew Fox) who together represent justice and are trying to shut Royalton down. Through most of the show implications are that Racer X is really Rex. But is he? Racer X appeared just two years after Rex died. If after what we reveal about the content of this film you decide see it, you'll find out whether X is Rex. But pay attention. The plot and story are sometimes complex and sometimes without substance. The story is indeed on occasion fractionated and without connectivity.

If you are one of the baby boomer generation you will see a lot of what you left behind: dazzling color splashing in perfect weight of exploding contrast. But note that this PG film contains more than twice the number of uses of foul language than last week's PG-13 Iron Man. But at least no one gets in bed with anyone.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
Much of the violence comes in the form of very loud and invasive racing violence. While some might not think of car crashes and drivers intentionally crashing into other cars as violence, they are. The rest of the violence in Speed Racer comes as gunfire to kill repeatedly, beatings, attempted murders, corporate crime and fixing of races through attempts to murder, offer to kill for pay and fighting.

Just last night I watched a Star Trek: Voyager(tm) TV episode and in it the story was about the influence of entertainment, that a hologram story the Doctor wrote would give viewers the wrong impression about Starfleet personnel. Little did the writers know that, whether intentional, they corroborated the very thing we fight: that bad behaviors/imagery in and as entertainment influence badly. Someday enough people with enough power will accept that portraying violence to settle conflict or any other negative behavior in and as entertainment will bleed into everyday life. God has been trying to tell us this for a very long time. [1 Cor. 15:33] Now the mental health communities are echoing God whether they know it or not. See Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. [Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I) - 46 out of 100
Last week's PG-13 film Iron Man presented four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary. This PG Speed Racer presented nine. [Col. 3:8, Prov. 30:20] A PG presenting more foul language than a PG-13? What is wrong with this picture? And with the adolescent impudence content of Speed Racer it seems the trend is accelerating that child arrogance and rebellion against a parent is becoming more and more present in films for younger and younger audiences. [Mal. 4:1] Two of Pops' sons blare out at him in defiance of his parental authority [Eph. 6:1 - 3, Col. 3:20] as offspring deceit and lies pepper the rebellion arrogance.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 59 out of 100
The content found by this investigation area consists largely of a slew of typically dismissed behaviors and images of sexually immoral "tidbits": things such as dressing to maximize skin exposure or human form; innuendo about sexually immoral behaviors; adult in underwear and using women as toys or ornaments. While these "tidbits" are certainly not of the "R" caliber, enough of them are. And, like an immorality narcotic they lead to more by desensitization of the threshold of acceptability. [Eph. 4:19] For so long we have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremes that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible. Now this is reaching deeper into the younger audiences. [Ps. 12:8]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 65 out of 100
The American College of Physicians finds that exposure of youth to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably emboldens the young to abuse alcohol. This PG film presents drinking, booze, smoking and drugging at the rate of 4.9 per hour.

Offense to God (O) - 70 out of 100
God's name is used in vain seven times though each use is without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] That each use is without the four letter expletive does not excuse the sin of abusing His name.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
While there were killings and attempted murders noted, no murders or suicides were noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, no matter how "small" it might seem, and its effect on an observer. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women/characters demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen. Knowing of Prov. 16:29 you now know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy (injurious speech, slander in this use), filthy communication [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene] out of your mouth.
  • Prov. 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress [or adulterer]: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.' [Though this verse uses "adulteress" to make its point, the heart of the matter is the arrogance of "What's the big deal!" defense of violating of God's Word. This verse makes an adulter(er/ess) of many filmmakers and performers, thinking they can ignore wholesome ethics and standards and impart impurity while thinking they've done no wrong. God will "speak" to them ... in no uncertain terms One Day.]
  • Mal. 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. ["Proud" - zed {zade'}: arrogant, proud, insolent, presumptuous; the arrogant ones.] [God sounds rather serious about the arrogant in Mal. 4:1 and Prov 30:20. And these are only two of many verses. We might do well to think about what God has said the next time we chose to speak "aischrologia."]
  • Eph. 6:1 - 3 CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise.
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • Eph. 4:19 Having lost all sensitivity, they [the sinful] have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Speed Racer (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • attempted sabotage race, death notwithstanding
  • attempted murder, repeatedly
  • adolescents fighting, twice
  • video game violence
  • beatings, some rather graphic
  • threat to do harm by flesh-eating fish
  • gunfire to kill, frequently
  • order to kill
  • bloody injuries
  • action/racing violence, repeatedly of varying intensities
  • adolescent breaking and entering to steal
  • corporate threats to manipulate
  • corporate crime and race fixing, repeatedly
  • extortion to control
  • story of murder because of honesty
  • planning murder to fix race
  • fighting, repeatedly, once ending in death, some long sequences
  • firearm to control, repeatedly
  • choking assault
  • automatic gunfire to control
  • offer to pay to kill

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • willingness to deceive father
  • older brother aiding in deception of father by younger boy
  • child arrogance toward father
  • adolescent flipping the bird
  • offer to lie and deceive
  • more deception of father, repeatedly
  • fecal humor
  • cheating, often

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • dressing to maximize the human form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly, including in a video game
  • innuendo re: sexual assault to intimidate
  • innuendo re: sexual interest
  • use of women as toys and/or ornaments, repeatedly
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • adult in underwear
  • excessive cleavage
  • flashes of young woman's crotch underwear as she jumped up and down in a short dress

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • booze, repeatedly
  • offer of cigars
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • assault with drugs
  • drugging to control
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)
  • seen uses of God's name in vain each without the four letter expletive
  • seeking vengeance

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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