Sunday, June 12, 2011
A Monster Summer Movie: Super 8
And it is like those old Spielberg films, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. But it's a new and exciting take that uses all of the advances in film technique, style, and story to tell a completely new tale. Kids riding around on bikes and making movies with old super 8 cameras, the first feelings of being fascinated with girls, the terrifying excitement of witnessing a disastrous event--these things transpire with an attentiveness and awe that is hardly ever reached for most other take-your-entire-family summer entertainment. Mentioning films that are similar to a new film is usually a detriment, but here it actually works, and it's like watching The Goonies for the first time as a child.
I'm deliberately not going to delve too far into the story, so here are the basics: set in a small town in the 1970's, a group of friends (all with vividly different personalities and interests [all of which come into play in creative ways later in the film]) are making a short film to enter into a local contest. These are hardcore future movie makers, not unlike Abrams and Spielberg were as children, and they take their job very seriously, so when a train is about to pass through one of the pivotal scenes in their homemade film, they are excited about the added production value. Thing's don't go as planned when the train is derailed (accidentally or intentionally?) and explodes in front of them.
Super 8 edges out Source Code as my favorite movie so far of 2011, and the way that the year is shaping up in regards to future releases, I can easily surmise that it will be near the top in the end. Like many reviewers have said, it's like watching an early Spielberg film for the first time. The key word is Nostalgia, something that I'm not usually a sucker for but works wonders when it's done correctly. Super 8 does it correctly. As Don Draper once said: "Nostalgia: it's delicate, but potent." (A)