I haven't personally read Matthew Reilly's 2004 novel HOVER CAR RACER, and to be honest I'm not sure I even want to after researching just what has attracted Disney to move forward with a big-screen adaptation. Perhaps I'm wrong, but doesn't this sound exactly like The Wachowski's box-office bomb SPEED RACER, with added hovering? . . .
'In the world of the near future, the most popular sport in the world is hover car racing. Super fast and dangerous, its heroes are the racers: part fighter pilot, part race-car driver, all superstar', says the blurb on Reilly's official site. It goes on: 'But to get to the Pro Circuit, you must first pass through the International Race School, a brutal cauldron of wild races on even wilder courses, where only the best of the best will survive…'
'This is the story of Jason Chaser, a talented young racer selected to attend the Race School. He’s younger than the other students. He’s smaller. His trusty car, the Argonaut, is older. But Jason Chaser is no ordinary racer. And as he races against the best drivers in the world he will learn that at Race School winning is everything, that not everyone in this world fights fair, and that you never ever have any friends on the track…'
Yep. That's SPEED RACER alright. Or a 90 minute version of PHANTOM MENACE's Pod Race sequence.
While SPEED RACER was, in this writer's opinion at least, unfairly maligned upon release (if you embrace its distinctive, anime-influenced cartoon world, it's actually quite fun!), it's hard to argue the fact that audiences just weren't interested in the concept at all, and we fail to see how this could be any different. Even the Pod Race sequence induced a few stifled yawns towards the end of its run, and that only lasted about 15 minutes!
Maybe we're missing something here, and Disney have identified a secret ingredient in Reilly's source that will turn this into a major new franchise, for they've once more put the project into development (after an aborted attempt some years ago), and have drafted in the talents of Dan Harris, writer of X-2 and SUPERMAN RETURNS, to work on the screenplay.
Let's all wish him luck!
Have you read the book? Will it make for a good big-screen adaptation? Let us know in the Comments below or on Twitter @Starburst_Mag