Sunday, 7 August 2011
REVIEW: SUPER 8
Spielberg helps Abrams take us back to the eighties.
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Ron Eldard & Kyle Chandler. Director: J. J. Abrams. Screenplay: J. J. Abrams. Produced By: Steven Spielberg, J. J. Abrams & Bryan Burk
'Super 8' is one of those special films that don't come around everyday. A classic, vintage feeling picture like the millimetre film of the same name. It's no wonder Steven Spielberg is behind this picture. The man that gave us such classics as 'E.T.' and 'Jurassic Park' oversees a project that tries to recapture the magic and youth of those movies from decades gone by. From the second the silhouette of Elliot and E.T flies into the 'Amblin' logo to start the movie the fond nostalgia and magic comes right back instantly.
This extra terrestrial, sci-fi picture however is written and directed by J.J. Abrams the man that blessed us with the solid, camera shaky 'Cloverfield' (this movie was originally rumored to be a prequel) and the sensational 'Star Trek' reboot. Knowing a thing about new worlds and new civilisations, Abrams boldly goes into this movie with a relatively unknown cast set in the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio (or Weirton, West Virginia as a matter of fact). This, however is what makes this film that more special, personal and in some ways scary. It just feels more real with actors that look like everyday people in an everyday setting as opposed to Tom Hanks leading a band of a-list brothers (as good as they are) right through the plot.
Speaking of the story arc, basically a lot of strange things start happening in this small town, and you know in movies like that it spells trouble and a hell of a lot of 'jump' moments. Meanwhile a group of charismatic kids full of character, looking to be the next 'Goonies' or Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's begin filming a zombie movie on their Super 8 camera. While getting some great 'production values' at a train station their script is flipped to some great special effect values as they witness a massive train derailment and one of the most impressive set-pieces you'll see in cinema all year. It really is mint. As even more strange things unfold and glimpses of new life begin to appear these small-town residents begin to realise they are far from alone.
What results is a tense, shocking, twist of a tale with plenty of humor and heart to keep you smiling and ticking over through it's one, twelve run time. As you immerse yourself in this community and movie, you stay with the story and begin to feel and love the characters that you've barely, if ever seen on screen before. That's that Speilberg and Abrams magic we we're talking about. Setting this film back in the eighties helps the small-town, more special feeling, down to the earth of the humble Ohio residents and also helps wake up some of the tired alien films (the alien actually looks original and great for a change). While elements of classic movies like the buddy nature of 'The Goonies', the terrifying suspense of 'Jurassic Park' and of course the extra terrestrial elements of 'E.T.' help make this Sci-fi fictional tale a science of success.
Also the cast-list won't read like a 'who's that' for much longer. From 15 year old Joel Courtney to 46 year old Kyle Chandler there are some born stars in this movie who are set to join the 'who's, who' A-Lists soon. With stellar performances, graphics, settings and set-pieces this movie looks to go out of the world of Hollywood and become a worldwide smash. There's so much to this picture that who knows if you'll laugh or cry in the end. There may be a little anti-climax in this grand picture but it still sits well on the screens as sometimes we all know the journey is better than the destination and this movie takes us on a wonderful one through space, time, nostalgia and classic story-telling and cinema. This movie feels like an independent one as it stands in a class of its own. An '8' out of ten movie that really is super. TIM DAVID HARVEY.