Super 8

June 11, 2011
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From J.J. Abrams mystery box of a brain comes the retro sci-fi masterpiece Super 8. Abrams, known for his work on the hit TV series Lost, partnered with Steven Spielberg on the film which, as a superb collaboration, has proven a shining gem in the slew of monotonous Hollywood films that feature popular actors. The cast consists of relatively unknown child actors, many who leave the audience with a deep sense of anticipation for the future of their careers.

The plot of the story is rich in Spielberg characters. Emotional and empathetic, one may see a touch of ET in the film, perhaps mixed with a bit of War of the Worlds and The Goonies seasoned with Transformers cinematic. A gang of kids using a Super 8mm camera to make a zombie flick (Not unlike a young Abrams or the films Producer Steven Spielberg) fall into an extraordinary story like the ones they wish to film themselves.

Elle Fanning (sister of Dakota Fanning) stars as a young girl named Alice who, just like Lewis Carrols famous character, stumbles along into a rabbit hole of mystery. A budding Romeo and Juliet romance occurs between Alice and the young 13-year old filmmaker Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney) as they battle family conflicts. Sprinkle in a train wreck that looks as if it were from a Final Destination film, mysterious military involvement, and hilarious supporting kid characters such a braced pyrophile, a chunky director, and a vomiting young actor, and there lies a film that is both a look back at young filmmakers in the late 1970’s and an interesting standalone science fiction story.

Super 8 is a prime example of a well-made film. The camerawork is fantastic, often utilizing screen panning for a drifting effect, as well as explosive (quite literally) effects. However, the film is not drenched in modernity. As it does take place in the 1970’s, the film spoofs on culture of the time. Characters blame the Russians for their woes. Old comic books drape the walls of the lead protagonist. Fashion in the film is filled with wide-framed glasses, tight shirts, long hair, and even gaping midriffs.

Plot is never dull. Problems such as single parenting and alcoholism are tackled in the film. Young love adds an effect of nostalgia for those in attendance. Older viewers will be pleased by the films music, as provided thoughtfully in a scene in which the gang of characters sing along to a 70’s radio hit.

The plot is progressive to such an effect that there is never a dull moment. Scenes roll into another in a timely fashion, juxtaposing the intentions of several characters, giving the audience a frightening advantage and anticipation. There is an instant connection between the audience and characters that for all ages are relatable for their naïve courage.

Abrams and Spielberg both expressed their enthusiasm for working on a project where a focus on young filmmakers is a focus. Add an actual abominable creature into the fray and you have a brilliant film. Add a brilliant cast and you have a film that you may want to see more than once.





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