Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Super 8 Review

I think Super 8 is going to be a love it / hate it. I loved it, I also grew up watching movies like The Goonies, Poltergiest, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. and this movie reminded me of all these childhood favorites so I think part of my enjoyment of Super 8 comes from my nostalgia. If you didn't grow up in the time these movies were made you might not find the movie as enjoyable....yes before there was the interwebs we used our imaginations and found things to do outside in the big scary world!
The story takes place in a little fictional town in Ohio, Lillith, where 6 kids spend their summer making a zombie movie with their super 8mm camera. Charlie is the writter/ director of the movie, Joe Lamb is the make up artist for the zombie movie, his father, newly widowed, is the towns deputy who blames Louis Dainard, his wife's coworker at the local factory for her death. Alice Dainard, Louis' daughter agrees to be in Charlies movie as the wife of the detective played by Martin. And little Cary contributes as the "resident evil"/ pyrotechnics guru.
While filming a scene at a local train station one night the group witnesses a huge accident where a freight train gets derailed by a pickup truck the group finds their biology teacher behind the wheel. He warns the kids to never speak about the accident or they'll be killed. Charlie, Alice and the group flee just as the military arrive, Charlie picks up one of the mysterious cubes that are scattered all over from the wreckage.
As the group struggles to continue their movie Joe's father begins investigating strange events occurring in Lillith, like the disappearance of people, including the sheriff, missing engine blocks and power lines, neighborhood pets leaving the town and the arrival of the US Air Force.
As the military presence escalates and the town begins to slip into a state of panic, the relationship between Joe and Alice begins to grow....to the chagrin of Charlie. The two find common  ground in the factory incident  mentioned earlier, but their parents both vehemently forbid  them from seeing each other.
Soon afterwards Alice is is abducted by whatever the USAF is trying to keep secret, the town is evacuated and Joe must convince his friends to help rescue Alice...

Super 8 brought me back to my youth and to a much less cynical time in my life and I don't care if some reviewers say JJ Abrams copied Spielbergs older works or it's not original, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie! Dakota Fanning's sister Elle was spectacular and reminded me of a young Drew Barrymore. And the chemistry between her and Joel Courney felt real and completely believable. The rest of the gang were fun and had that goonies-like chemistry, instead of  Richard "data" Wang we got "boom boom" Cary.
The setting and time frame was a welcome return, the story was well balanced with enough lighthearted moments that didn't feel forced to keep the story from becoming too dark and depressing, the only scene that felt off to me was the scene when Joe and the guys are scrambling thru Lillith trying to rescue Alice. I kept thinking to myself "This totally reminds me of Exodus in Modern Warfare 2!"
The train derailment scene was intense! It made the one in The Fugitive looks boring!
And finally I think young Joel Courtney did a great job, I believe this is his first major role in movies....I really enjoyed the scenes he shared with Elle and I think he has a bright future ahead of him!
If you enjoyed Super 8 I recommend seeing the Iron Giant, the two movies are very familiar and are equally enjoyable!
A-