Monday, June 13, 2011

Super 8

I have been waiting to watch this movie since I heard about it last summer. Steven Spielberg and some threat to earth by a strange creature, well, count me in. With J.J. Abrams at the helm, it sounded even more promising. Knowing that there are many big movies coming out this summer, i.e. X-Men, Harry Potter, and the Green Lantern, this movie breaks the mold by employing a smaller budget, and lesser-known actors.The notoriety of the director and producer brought with it the advantage of familiarity with past works and the good faith of delivering a quality movie.

Well, this turned into a good thing, a very good thing. In the beginning, set in 1979 in rural Ohio, a young boy's mother has just died. We get the sense that something bad happened, but are not told what it was until later. Forward a few months later, and a motley group of childhood friends are filming a homemade super 8 zombie movie. The shots of the kids filming brought some of the best laughs throughout the entire movie, and I couldn't help but think of Abrams and Spielberg reliving their youth. One night as they are filming, they witness a train crash that starts the action. Hold on, let me indulge. The train crash is spectacular. It's unbelievable. Watching this train derail was like watching a movie about war on the front lines, with kids running around, dodging debris, not soldiers. And that's not the only thing, because something gets loose. Something.

The group of friends are down to earth, and believable. They are goofy, real, and lovable. Also, there is an added element of romance. A sweet, gentle, fun bit of love. After all, they are kids.

 This image is from newsinfilmcom

There are many parallels to Spielberg's works. From the 'E.T.'-like charm of a boy and an alien, to the group of friends, much like 'The Goonie's, this movie brings with it many of the feelings of the memory making movies of my childhood. Oh, and Rubik's Cube's, yeah, they're referenced, too.

The main character, Joe, played by Joel Courtney, looks a whole lot like Elliot in 'E. T.', and one Alice, played awesomely by Elle Fanning, brought memories of a grown Gertie with her blonde hair and pretty features.

I left the theater saying that this particular monster might very well have been one of my favorites. During the course of the film the audience was groomed to fear the creature, but also, in the end, to feel for it, by giving it a more human aspect. This being the modus operandi from Spielberg, but if you ask me, it's a good one. I am able to get into movies where I am watching the character arc flow, and when this happens with the antagonist, as well as the protagonist, that's all the better. 

One way that I was disappointed would be the sometimes unsuccessful attempt at humor. The loud, obnoxious kid, Charles, played by Riley Griffiths, was reminiscent of Chunk from 'The Goonies', but his one-liners, and use of retro dialogue were not working much of the time.

That being said, 'Super 8' was a fun coming of age film with kick ass action scenes and heartfelt moments. I would go see it again.

Do you want to see this one, or if you already have, what were your thoughts about it? Sound off below...


  1. Great review! i was wondering if this movie would be any good. Now i know what to go see this weekend.

  2. Thanks, John! I really enjoyed it, and hope you do, too. Let me know what you think after you see it! :)