Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super 8

Year: 2011
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Director: J.J. Abrams

This one crept up on me. From out of the blue, a sci-fi monster movie by JJ Abrams, co-produced by Spielberg. Where have I been? It’s true, writing movie reviews doesn’t have the same appeal as it use to. But after sitting through Super 8, I’m super-charged and need to tell you about it.

It’s the summer of 1979 and Charles (Riley Griffiths) and his best friend Joe (Joel Courtney), the leaders of a group of young-teens, run around town shooting a zombie epic on their Super 8 camera. These kids ‘really’ like movies.

They sneak from their bedrooms at night to film a zombie scene at an abandoned train station. Witnessing a train crash, they narrowly avoid getting killed. Everything is destroyed, well almost everything. Strange cargo litters the debris field, and ‘something’ stirs in the background. The camera and their get-away-car intact, they high-tail it out of there, and the real adventure begins.

The small quiet town of Lillian is about to get its name on the map. Talking about names, all the young protagonists of Super 8, including Ryan Lee (Cary), Gabriel Basso (Martin), and Zach Mills (Preston), play their characters to perfection.

Elle Fanning, (sister of Dakota) does a star turn as Alice. Other principal characters fill their boots well, especially Kyle Chandler (Deputy Lamb) and Ron Eldard (Louis Dainard), whose fashion sense is spot-on.

Most of the time, the film looks and feels like it could have been made in the ‘70s. Lens flair is prominent, and there’s a grainy effect to the visuals which instils that nostalgic vibe, not forgetting some excellent music.

OMG, did we really dress like that? I digress…

If you’re a child of the ‘80s then this movie will remind you of a lot of things, Spielberg movies naturally. All those stories about geeky kids trying to save their neighbourhood from some disaster or other, the father and son denouement, the cute girls next door, the military, the aliens, the nice cops. With Super 8 you get all this and then some.

Super 8 is not without its flaws, but they are so few to mention. I like this movie too much to say anything bad about it. However, I don’t want to like JJ Abrams (of Cloverfield and Lost fame) because he’s a cool-know-it-all-smart-ass-jerk of a director. He’s made a name for himself by not showing us the monster, and leaving us to slowly stew in our imaginations. Now he gives us Super sub-text. The bastard!

Super 8 out of 10!

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