“Super 8”: A slice of nostalgia heaven
The following review is “Spoiler-Free” as possible.
After much build-up and hype, “Super 8” was one film I made dead sure I would never be spoiled about and interestingly enough, almost everyone did their part. Critics gave away only the basic premise and didn’t dig further and even the advertising kept everything a mystery. When I walked into the theater and the flick began, it wouldn’t be long till everything was answered. At least everything that was being seen in trailers.
The story centers around Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) who is dealing with the loss of his mother, which appears to be the blame of his father’s friend. Come summer and his friend of a horror buff wants his help on a movie for the local film festival that deals with zombies. Unfortunately, filming doesn’t go well as planned when a massive train wreck gets in the way and unleashes a monster of great destruction upon the town. Soon, people are missing, dogs strangely leave the town, electronic devices get missing from left and right, and even the Military Air Base gets involved into this strange case bringing things to a panic.
All the while, these four kids just see this as an opportunity to make their feature and are eager to finish it, disaster or not. What is unique about these “mini-Spielbergs” is how they want to get this dream project made, but things keep getting in the way. And yet, they see this as an opportunity to use it as “production value” and work around it. The kicker is how creative these guys are and the enthusiasm they have to finish this “masterpiece” of theirs. However, it’s not long till “production” has to end when things begin to go wrong in their hometown and soon each answer is revealed with each frame of the film.
“Super 8” is the ultimate nostalgia flick for fans of Steven Spielberg’s work, who also produced the movie interestingly enough. Each scene feels like a nod and homage to the alien encounters and spectacles that the famed director put his personal touches to. One can tell the influence as moments of “E.T,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and even “Jurassic Park” pass by and make their presence known. The basic theme dwells on how strong the power of influence is through moments of everyday life or something phenomenal and how it can change someone.
It’s the nostalgia factor of how a film or one thing can inspire us to make a movie of it or reflect upon ourselves. In the end, it’s not about the monster causing chaos, but the young film makers that are in the middle of it. You want to see them finish their movie and get through the worst of life with natural disasters, loss of loved ones, and letting go of the past. Truly, it’s an original beast that is more about the journey and inspiration as opposed to what is lurking behind the shadows as they go about their daily lives.
In fact, I wish I could tell you the connections it has to Spielberg’s work like the timid townspeople from Jaws or the wonder and mysterious actions that were in Close Encounters, but that would be giving the entire feature away. The bottom line is the less said the better, because this is one hell of a blockbuster that is sure to please many by the end, with the exception of a special treat during the end credits that is worthy of staying for.
But what I can say is that for those who plan to take their children to see this movie, should think other wise. While I can’t spoil the dark and intense moments of the “monster,” what I can say is that those scenes are worthy for giving kids ages 9 and below nightmares. While there is certainly a lot of mystery and frightening build-up to this hulking mammoth, my recommendation is rent “Explorers.” A film with the same ideas and themes, but with a more light-hearted approach with the mysterious extraterestrials. On the plus side, “Super 8” itself doesn’t seem to go too deep into the “Gremlins” feel when the monster is about, but plays it a bit too serious and scary. While it doesn’t outdo the true message of the film, it plays along nicely and fits in with “Super 8” ‘s charm and whimsical moments of Speilberg-ish wonder. Either way, it’s a worthy trip to the box-office some will find little to be disappointed over.
Posted on June 13, 2011, in In Theaters (Sort of) and tagged Review Theaters Super 8 J.J. Arbrams. Steven Speilberg Blockbuster 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.