For Generation X boys growing up in America during the late 1970's, it was hard to avoid cartoons such as Battle of the Planets and Speed Racer. These cartoons were the first generation of cartoons known as Japanese animation (aka Japanimation or Anime), which were adapted to Western cultures. The popularity of Anime has exploded since the early 1990's, creating a sub-genre of dedicated followers.

Thirty years later, those Gen X'ers are in their 30's and re-living their childhoods through their own children. Recognizing this nostalgic awakening, the movie houses are keen to meet demand. With the latest advents of CGI animation and special effects, the movie houses are doing what they do best, breathing new life into old stories. For example, another late 1970's cartoon, Transformers, is set to hit theaters on July 4th and guaranteed to be a huge success.

And now, Warner Brother Pictures has announced the family adventure film, "Speed Racer", which has already entered pre-production and set to be released May 9, 2008.

From the press release, "Based on the classic 1960's Japanese animated series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida, the live-action "Speed Racer" will showcase the kind of revolutionary visual effects and cutting-edge storytelling that have become the benchmarks of the Wachowski brothers' films."

Pictured above is an updated version of Speed Racer's Mach 5 racecar which will be used in the film. Built by his father in the story, the "hypersonic" car is equipped with many gadgets and devices. Designed to resemble the open cockpit prototype racer of the 1960's, the movie version Mach 5 seems to retain most of its original shape and design characteristics with a more aggressive front nose and larger wheels.

Press release and hi-res image after the jump.

Gallery: Speed Racer Lives Again on the Big Screen