Thursday, June 9, 2011

Box Office Review - Super 8

As of lately I have grown bored with going to the theater. I still go every week hoping for an engrossing experience, but for the past month I have walked out of the theater feeling nothing but apathy. The movie industries focus on super hero movies and young adult novel adaptations has resulted in the Summer Blockbuster market becoming redundant and predictable. I had extremely high hopes that Super 8 would be something different. This stemmed from the knowledge that the film is an original work written and directed by JJ Abrams. Going into the theater for the 11:30am showing today I was ready to get lost in this film. I was not disappointed.

Super 8 delivers the cinematic goods on every level. The script is tight, the acting impeccable, and the direction unrivaled. Abrams has made a film about childhood that is exciting and fun, but also dark. From the establishing shot to the glorious end scene I was entirely engrossed in the film, and once the credits were over I was ready to watch the film again that instance.

The film takes place in a small Ohio town in 1979. Joe Lamb son of town deputy Jackson Lamb is helping his friend Charles, a bossy wannabe film director make a zombie film. Together along with friends Martin, Preston, Cary, and new to the group Alice they are filming a scene near some train tracks when disaster strikes and a train is derailed. This is the start of their strange adventure that eventually affects the entire town.

The actors who play the young filmmakers range from first timers to seasoned veterans, but they all do a good job of creating a gang for the audience to root for and want to be a part of. Joel Courtney who plays Joe Lamb is one of the first timers, but you would never know. As the main character, he is the one character with a major arc and every step of the way he is believable. Even when acting across from Elle Fanning, a much more experienced actor, he is able to hold his own. Their young romance in the film is extremely believable and well acted. The other members of the gang each have a specific character trait that defines them, for example Cary is a major pyro, and the young actors fall into these roles nicely.

It must have helped them that so much of the film is done on practically. Sure there is a fair amount of cg in the film, but it is used as an enhancement to what are gorgeous sets. The town feels like an authentic real world place that just happens to be hosting one crazy story. Throughout the film there are some very impressive set pieces, non more impressive than the bus scene. Though fairly simple, the scene is done well and is extremely memorable. I don't want to spoil it, so just go see the movie
LinkIt is fairly obvious that Super 8 is inspired by cinema of the past. Director Abrams has even provided a list of 7 films that inspired the movie. While it is fun to spot all the similarities, focusing on this while watching the film is a waste of time. The film is not just pop culture potpourri, but a movie that can stand apart from those that inspired it. The movie has a big heart and above everything else is a great adventure. It is a beautiful tribute to childhood as well as growing up. It just happens to also be a fantastic monster movie. You will regret it if you don't see this movie. I can't wait to see it again.

A Gold Banana

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