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‘Super 8’ Review

For most, youth carries with it a time when everything is safe, fun and interesting. There is always something new, something to look forward to; life has only just begun. I guess that’s why I see a movie like “Super 8” with both sadness and admiration. Sadness for not being able to relive those days and admiration for giving me the next best thing.

Director J.J. Abrams and his mentor producer Steven Spielberg have created a film that feels like it belongs during a different age of movies, before overrated special effects and the amount of explosions sold tickets. Films were based on characters, the special effects were secondary. Sometimes they looked good, sometimes they did not, but you accepted them because the story was strong.

And that’s where “Super 8” soars, in its characters.

Set in 1979, a group of friends witnesses a horrible train crash while trying to make a zombie flick on 8mm film. They all survive, but will the rest of the small Ohio town? The accident leads to an invasion of troops from the Air Force, bizarre disappearances and missing microwaves.

Actor Joel Courtney takes the lead as Joe Lamb. This newcomer gives audiences the perfect blend of awe and determination to make the unlikely events taking place around him believable. He reminded me a lot of the kid who played Bastian in “The Neverending Story.”

And he’s not the only star of this cast, Ryan Lee annoys you just enough as the brace-face, pyromaniac Cary; Riley Griffiths is the bossy, fat-kid directing the zombie movie-in-a-movie; Gabriel Basso was memorable as a seemingly muscular boy who is a giant wuss and Zach Mills uses his minimal screen time well, making you crack up with goofy expressions and offbeat one-liners.

The other standout, is Elle Fanning. She moves far beyond the typical damsel in distress and gives a real emotional performance as a girl coping with her father’s drinking problem and a budding romance with one of the aforementioned gents.

This teenage crew was so likeable and reminded me so much of how life was like at that age. As a viewer, you kind of wished that the whole movie was about them and their adventures, but it’s not.

As much as I enjoyed the main storyline, about these kids, the “Super 8” secret kind of got in the way. Whenever it got to a scene involving “the secret”, I just found myself yearning for more witty dialogue and funny interaction. But as with any good teen movie of the 80’s, I guess there has to be something for these kids to react to, whether it be “Monster Squad”, “Goonies” or “Gremlins.”

I obviously don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say the device used as the MacGuffin or the “Super 8 Secret” as it’s been dubbed on Twitter, is something that is growing very tired in modern cinema. And the way it’s presented to viewers makes it hard for the eventual outcome to sit well with audiences.

“Super 8” did not disappoint. It gave me what I needed. A nostalgic voyage to a simpler time, when days felt like years, a bike ride to a friend’s house was a journey you’d never forget and a first-kiss could make your head spin. I just wish it didn’t involve…(insert secret here.)

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Super 8 and have No Comments

The 2011 Buzz Movie ‘Super 8’

I’ll say this about JJ Abrams, he may not always deliver on the mysteries he starts (one needs only to point to his often intriguing, but confusing Alias series as evidence), but he does know how to create a heck of a viral marketing campaign. His latest project “Super 8” is being produced by Steven Spielberg and judging from this trailer premiering today before “Iron Man 2” in theaters, it revolves around Area 51 and aliens. Certainly not a new topic, but could be good. Check out the bootleg trailer below.

In addition, there are two websites related to the movie up and running, but neither seem to reveal much. One is just a grainy shot of an old super 8 camera, here, and the other brings up an old 80’s computer interface which allows you to type in a series of commands, but at this point doesn’t do anything. Check that out here.

A lot of people are speculating that this is somehow related to Abrams other viral hit “Cloverfield” which was also about an alien. However, that monster was much bigger than anything that could be kept on a train and Abrams has already stated that “Super 8” is not a sequel to “Cloverfield.” If you’ve never seen that trailer, check it out below. Obviously, the verdict’s still out on “Super 8”, but both trailers go to show that 90 seconds of video can often be way more exciting than 90 minutes.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Super 8 and have No Comments