Monday, June 13, 2011

Review - Super 8 (2011)

“Production Value!”

Starring: Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Director: J.J Abrams
Writer: J.J Abrams

Watching Goonies, Monster Squad, The Explorers and Wizard of Speed and Time, there was a certain feeling I got as a child that just has never been replicated. It could be that movies with kids are tamer now-a-days, could be that the age is just different and we have a more distinct understanding of what is appropriate for children. Watching Super 8 seemed to tap into this feeling that I’ve been missing, but was this nostalgia? Was this an actual good movie? Read on to find out.

Looking at the content of this movie, it’s hard to decide if this is a movie for Tweens, or if this is a nostalgia trip for older audiences. There is blood, swearing and it will scare younger children, yet throughout there is this old school teen movie feel. Personally I think that this would be a good movie for 13-16 years olds to watch with their parents. As there is a real heart beating throughout the movie.

J.J Abrams seems to have had a passion for this movie, and it really does show. A simple creature feature becomes something more in his hands. There is a look at childhood dreams, friendship, parental relationships and coming to terms with death. Also J.J Abrams paints the main alien attacking the town story with very broad strokes, allowing for the little details of other themes to really stand out. You have your big bad military trying to cover up stuff, the father not being totally behind his son, just clichéd story points that would have been negatives if it wasn’t backed up by the other story notes.

Acting wise everyone is on their game. Every child in the group does well, and has their own little traits to be able to stand out. You can picture these kids being friends. Highlights of the group would be Elle Fanning (yes she’s the sister of Dakota), who brings a restrained sadness to the character of Alice. Also Joel Courtney who plays Joe Lamb manages to really carry the heart of the movie. He is at the centre of everything, and it’s his relationship with Alice, his father and his friends that really create a wonderfully layered movie. I also dug Kyle Chandler’s turn as Jackson Lamb. Too often in this sort of movie, the lead parent is disbelieving of his son, but there is a different dynamic between son and father which is refreshing.

J.J Abrams last movie was jokingly referred to as Lens Flare City. Well there is some in this movie, but maybe one or two times. Instead he’s created a wonderful visual feel that transports you to the 70’s era. Also while the monster is revealed, early on it’s kept to the darkness, creating the tense atmosphere. J.J Abrams manages to balance the look of the movie with current techniques but instil into it with a nostalgic feel. I think J.J Abrams is hugely talented and is capable of creating a unique look for each of his films. Okay maybe that’s a little premature as he’ll need to do a few more movies, but let’s just say I’m calling it now.

Not being a parent maybe I’m blind to the suitability of this movie. Still this is just a brilliant movie. Everything comes together just right and reminded me of this joy I had when I watched certain movies as a child. I would recommend everyone take the time and go and see this movie. It might scare really young children, but tweeners (as they are known) might find a great movie to enjoy with the parental units. Look enough gushing, get your butts to the cinema and watch this movie.

1 comment:

  1. "And chasing."

    I really dug this film, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. No doubt it'll go in my top 5 of the year.