DIRECTED BY: J.J. Abrams
WRITTEN BY: J.J. Abrams
PEW PEW: The film is certainly exciting, but not action-packed. The scenes involving the *spoiler* are jarring and there are hectic escape scenes.
CAT FOOD: We learn that letting go is important, and the *spoiler* helps to illustrate the lameness of being human, but Super 8 is a fun film with an neat mystery and not much more in terms of social commentary.
So here’s a little slice of awesome that’s worth talking about.
In between helming Star Trek films, director/master of the lens flare J.J. Abrams made time to put together Super 8, which really does feel like one of those hidden gems I once, as a child well on his way to Nerdville, eagerly selected from the VHS rental rack, i.e. The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, etc.
Based in 1979, the film centres around a group of six fourteen-year-olds who are trying to put together a film for a local festival using super 8 film. As they rush to get an oncoming train into the background of one of their shots (to add production value, as one of the characters hilariously exclaims), a truck mysteriously drives into the tracks, leading to an ultra violent, nerve-rattling derailing.
Not only do the kids find themselves on the run from the U.S. Air Force, but they also come to realise that the train wreck unleashed something very strange on their town.
This is another one of those films that I feel must have an air of mystery going in to have the viewer to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Thus, I think it’s fair to warn you that spoilers will follow.
Outright, this movie is really cool and will appeal to a very large audience. I found it fascinating to watch this mystery slowly unravel and didn’t want to look away for even a second.
There are four things of severe note in this great picture: the fun, the alien, the acting, and the nostalgia factor.
Although Super 8 deals with some very heavy subjects (death, love, substance abuse, etc.), if there’s one thing Mr. Abrams knows how to do it’s make a fun film. Not only are the characters extremely easy to care about, they also deliver some of the finest jokes and manage to fit them in wherever and whenever possible — in a way that never seems out of place, no less!
The creature that is unleashed upon the town is quite impressive. We go most of the film without seeing him, and when he’s around but obscured from our view, the alien is one hundred per cent a terror. Great attention was paid to make the thing’s beller something really intense. When we do see him, he’s still a viable menace, but his face does feature enough expression to convey that he’s just super crazed from what humans have done to him and that he wants to go home right fucking now.
I’m sure it’s been said, so I’ll just take my hat off to the young leads. They’re instantly likable and the performances are so natural. I’m sure we’ll be seeing them in other great pictures in the future.
Finally, I must touch on how much of a nostalgic joy Super 8 was to watch. I’d imagine anyone who grew up in the late seventies/early eighties will get a tremendous kick out of seeing that era revived in vivid detail.
Now, I understand that I hadn’t even been born at the time the film is based, but I can tell you that I felt that nostalgic kick nonetheless. You might ask how. Well, because this film is based in 1979, at a time when science fiction was going through one hell of a fine renaissance thanks to Star Wars. Consequently, my entire childhood was ruled by movies that featured that signature look: Close Encounters, E.T., and many, many more. So, even if you weren’t around in 1979, Super 8 offers heavy nostalgia for anyone touched (or severely brainwashed, in my case) by films from that era.
Oh, and watch the end credits, too. The kids’ super 8 film ‘The Case’ is played out in its entirety and is guaranteed to steal a smile from you, if not a few chuckles.