Somewhere inside Anthony Lane is the little boy he once was, and that little boy is annoying as fuck and probably doesn’t like Halloween, either.
Same goes for the Chicago Sun-Times' Jim Emerson, who calls out the hypocrisy of a General Mills- and McDonald's-sponsored "packaged commodity that capitalizes on an anthropomorphized cartoon of Capitalist Evil in order to sell itself and its ancillary products." This is a half-decent point, though Emerson's attack on an anti-corporate screed while in the employ of a corporate media behemoth would probably benefit from a convenient suspension of his own logic.
But what Emerson misses is the story's essential theme: the difficulty and importance of doing right even when doing right appears to be useless, when conscience is its own and only reward. It's an eternal dilemma, and one hopes the parable of Speed Racer will outlast and even erode the rapacious power of its sponsors.
On a side note, Speed Racer’s first half-hour is a gorgeously crafted present-future-past narrative slipstream, a work of minor genius, kid flick be damned.