Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review- Super 8

Screw all the fanboy haters! Screw all the haters period! I don't effing care that Super 8 is a mashup of movies we've all seen before! Do you not realize that nearly all movies nowadays are a mashup of old movies?? Have you read my blog post on "Everything is a Remix?" Check it out! Super 8 is the type of movie that reminds me of why I love film so much. A friend of mine and I caught a show Friday night and we both loved it! Now before you go and think I've fallen off the bandwagon from my ranting, let me explain if your unfamiliar with what I'm referring to. The film Super 8 which was released yesterday, is the new movie by well known producer J.J. Abrams, who in this case he's sitting in as the director, and producer Steven Spielberg. The film is basically a nostalgic homage of the Spielberg Amblin films of the 80's such as E.T. or Close Encounters. You take that, and throw in Goonies and Cloverfield into the mix and Voila! You got Super 8! Now a lot of fanboys are bitching that this is a just a mix of movies that they've seen before, but let me explain why I don't have a problem with that.

Okay so let me just give you a brief synopsis of the film. The movie centers around a group of friends in 1979 (who looked to be around 12) living in a small, quiet town in Ohio. The kids are working on a short film about zombies during summer break, but they need to film it in secret because their parents forbid them to make it. The story focuses around Joe Lamb who incidentally has a crush on a girl named Alice from school who is also helping with the film. One night during filming, a train is passing by and young director of the group, Joe's best friend Charles, yells at the group to begin shooting with the train in the background to up their production value. While filming as the training is passing by, a man driving a white truck slams into the train and reeks havoc with the kids caught right in the middle of the crash (don't worry, none of them are hurt). In the middle of the train ruckus, the kids notice there was something strange in the cargo that got out. They find run into the man who crashed into train (who for some reason survived the crash) who turns out to be their biology teacher at school. The man warns the kids not to speak of what they saw or else "they" will come and kill them and their families.

The kids then embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind what was in the cargo while strange things begin happening around town, and the air force coming in starting up some suspicious activity. As a side plot, Joe is also fighting an internal struggle trying to cope with the recent death of his mother, struggling with his estranged relationship with his father (who is also the town deputy), and pursuing a friendship with Alice who his dad forbids him to see because she is the daughter of the man he blames for his wife's death.

So where do I start with my commentary on this film? The film certainly pulled through a lot of that Spielberian feel, but also you saw the J.J. Abrams in it, plus a few others. I must say, the train wreck scene was one of the most intense action sequences I've ever seen and I almost was thinking for a second that this was a Michael Bay film. You also got a lot of Spielberg produced film The Goonies coming through while watching these kids at work. They're cute, have great chemistry together, and shine while on this crazy-ass adventure they're embarking on. I must say though, unlike the Goonies, Joe pretty much stole the majority of the spotlight instead of letting all the kids equal opportunities to shine. Alas, another film I was reminiscing upon that was neither Abrams or Spielberg was the Iron Giant by Brad Bird. I can't be the only person who thought this, especially during the scene at the end. Just watch it and you'll see what I mean.

Spielberg's magic was dusted throughout the film with his uncanny ability to transport you back to being a child again. Again, think back to E.T. For two hours on Friday night, I was a kid again- something I really needed after learning some pretty disheartening news earlier in the day. Oh and another very Spielberian quality of this film was the score. Written by probably my favorite composer (who I was wishing would eventually score an HP movie) Michael Giacchino, the music was so similar to E.T. that I thought maybe it was actually John Williams who composed it. Besides all these influences, you could still see Abram's mark written all over the film. Yes, yes there's the annoying lense flare, but you get use to it. Another were all the monster teasers (cough cough, smoke monster, cough), its got LOST written all over it! And yes, just like LOST, you pretty much don't see what the monster is til the end (so don't get annoyed). Now by the time we did see the monster (and this is the only complaint I have on the film) it seem very Cloverfield-like to me. Now Cloverfield was a Abram produced film so maybe that's just way all his monsters look, but by the time we got a close up of it, I felt like it was apart of a different movie. Now I was expecting the monster to be more, ehhh...not sure what the word is...realistic? I know this is a Sci-Fi film but the monster was a bit too science fiction for me, seeing how grounded the rest of the film was.

What drew me to this film the most, and the reason I loved it so much, was because of the kids. My friends may find this part funny, seeing how much I hate kids in real life, but stories about kids are my favorite type in film and in books. No, I don't like dumb children films about kids ouwitting adults. What I love are stories that show just how grown up a kid can be such as His Dark Materials, Ender's Game, Let The Right One In, Coraline, Spirited Away, etc. So don't be deterred from this film if you think it's a film for kids because it is about a group of kids. The main two actors in the film, Joel Courtney who plays Joe, and Elle Fanning who plays Alice, were I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E!!!! These two are young stars to keep your eye on. Both Joel and Elle were successfully able to carry out a huge range of emotions without faltering once! The two also had really good chemistry together and were super cute!

So what do you take out of my review. Yes, the film is a mashup of a lot of things we've seen before, BUT we've never seen them put together in a way like this. Screwn together, it's become something entirely on its own. I wouldn't have liked just another E.T. movie. Nowadays, I feel like we need films to be more raw and bleak, and I think Abrams was able to deliver that with Super 8. I really do think Abrams is proving himself just as good a film director as he is producer. The film critic in me tells me this film deserves an 8, but the kid in me is telling me to give it a 10. Just look at that film poster! Classic 80's movie cover right there! How can you not love it!? Stay through the credits; you get to see their short zombie film. Super cute!

Final score- 10/10

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