Sunday, August 26, 2012


Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler

"It arrives"


Sunday evening, "Harriet" threw a tantrum so I found myself pressing the TV remote control for any suitable movie to watch. By the way, for the uninitiated, "Harriet" refers to my' desktop PC.

Perfect timing, as the film written and directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) just commenced on HBO. It is set in 1979 and focuses on 4 young boys whose friendship is based on their common interest - to shoot movies. They are in the process of shooting their zombie romance using a Super 8 camera. One night while filming on location, they witness a horrible train crash. A tragedy that is the catalyst for some sci-fi/military project that goes terribly wrong. Soon enough the little town in Ohio serves as a battleground between the military and some monster/alien that looks like a hideously menacing giant spider.

This film is J.J. Abrams's fitting tribute to the old Steven Spielberg (co-producer of Super 8) movies. Most of Spielberg's previous films were usually set in some small Midwest American town that undergoes a major upheaval as it experiences some inexplicable event that would alter their lives, forever. So "Super 8" is a sort of "Stand by Me" (although this was never directed by Spielberg) meets "E.T" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" popcorn entertainment.

But amidst the loud explosive scenes of train crashes and military gun fires is a story about friendship as well as a budding love story that develops between the 2 main characters in the film. The cast of young actors are mostly credible although there were certain scenes where they were annoying and for lack of a better word, childish.

My only issue is the too much sci fi and the military is hiding something from the people premise. It feeds into the conspiracy theory aspect of many sarcastic folks out there. Good thing I was able to briefly change the channel every time the big bad nasty monster/alien got any screen time. That's because I'm not a fan of sci-fi themed films. But on the other hand, I'd admit it would be like watching a poorer rehash version of "Stand by Me", if it weren't for the sci-fi element.

"Super 8" is an old-fashioned, feel good movie spectacle that doesn't rely on big stars to tell its narrative. It is simply a good story with humor, enough thrills and enveloped with an sense of wonder that brings us back to our childhood. An era with no digital gadgets to complicate our lives which sadly is now fueled by our need to be always connected to the Internet.

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