OK, let’s get this out of the way up front: for me, the two-minute scene with the crazy-ass vikings of Team Thor-Axine is the highlight of Speed Racer, and perfectly encapsulates the over-the-top absurdity and creativity of the movie as a whole. It’s a pity they get knocked out of the Casa Cristo race when they do — I really wanted to see more of them. Hell, I could have watched a whole movie built around these ridiculous characters and their bad-ass cars.Yes, it is entirely possible that more than a few minutes of their antics would have been overkill — witness how the scene-chomping Snake Oiler wears out his welcome long before he disappears over a cliff — but it is also true that many of the draggier parts of the film could have benefited from the sheer manic verve we get from this trio of hedonistic barbarians in their only appearance.What isn’t open to debate is the uniqueness of the vehicle. Of all the designs to come out of the movie, the Thor-Axine car is the most original. Even more amazing, its look was created and approved in a couple of hours. In an interview, CGI artist Michael Meyers said, “a few [cars] I totally made up on the spot with no drawings whatsoever. The most notable of these is … the ‘Viking Car’ in Casa Cristo race. I was inspired by a picture I found of ‘Thor’s Hammer’ while Googling anything I could find about Vikings that might give me something to work with. I literally designed that entire car in about 2 hours on my last day in Berlin.”The cars of Thor-Axine (yes, pronounced like the drug Thorazine, another questionable choice of pun by the writers of what was ostensibly a kid’s movie) also had the most preposterous and amusing of the illegal weapons on display, including a massive hammer, gigantic flailing balls (helllo, metaphor) and a bee hive catapult.A bee hive catapult!While lacking both the exact shape and rough-hewn filigree of the original, the Hot Wheels version was nonetheless a fun addition to the collection (it’s hard not to think of Mattel’s lawyers looking at the design with all its sharp points and shuddering). To gain a further appreciation for the battle axe/long boat look of the car, check out this 360˚ rotatable rendering on VRMag — the Virtual Reality Magazine — in an online article from 2008.Alas, the crazy-ass vikings of Team Thor-Axine are soon dispatched by Speed and Racer X, never to be seen again.
Type M Race Car Numbers: 63, 65, 67
Bonus Christmas posting! Happy holidays everyone.