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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Super 8 Review

It's been a while since I've posted any pure "Think Spielberg" content and I think it's high time that changed. Tonight I'm bringing to you a review of the J.J. Abrams written and directed, Steven Spielberg produced, Super 8. This film set in 1979 Lillian (in reality, Wierton), Ohio, and follows the teenaged protagnist, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his five friends Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths), Cary (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills), Martin (Gabriel Basso), and Alice Dainard played by the fantastic Elle Fanning, as they battle the U.S. Air Force and try to unravel the mystery behind the terrible train accident that brought chaos to their town. An homage to the 70's Sci-Fi flicks of Steven Spielberg and coming of age classics like "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me", Abrams' "Super 8" revisits an era of innocence and adventure. When watching "Super 8", we can't help but get spine tingling chills as we remember being completely engulfed in the fantastic story lines of movies like "E.T.", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Hook", and "Jurassic Park". In creating a "feel" of nostalgia and kid like excitement and wonder, "Super 8" exceeds all expectations. One of my favorite shots of the film is the first. It's informative, emotional, visually pleasing, and effectively sets the mood for the start of our protagonists story - all without a word of dialogue. The narrative uses many shots like these to communicate to the audience visually which is always a plus. The story itself is not exceptionally deep but there is a cohesive and entertaining sequence of events that occur. The film's emotional value comes mostly from suspense built throughout the film although there are tender moments between Alice and Joe. Another interesting bit is watching the relationship between Joe and his father develop as the film progresses. I love the fact that the monster (yes there is a monster) isn't shown until about the last 45 minutes of the film. The rest of the time you are completely absorbed, as the kids characters are, in navigating the mystery. Colonel Nelec, the films antagonist, is the essential, Spielbergian, government bad guy. Friends and enemies are easily identified in this movie so you won't spend a whole lot of time wondering whodunit or why. All in all the film did it's job in taking the audience into a world that is very similar to that of a classic, early Spielberg film. I'd recommend you go see it at least once, for the train crash sequence if nothing else (it's beautifully loud and violent). Super 8 is officially my favorite summer film and the best shot at "doing Spielberg" I've seen in a long time.

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