Thursday, 11 August 2011

Super 8 (2011)

My last review was extremely long and I think I went off the point. I like to make thorough reviews but I like to make them interesting and to the point so this will be shorter..

Running Time: 111 mins
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, Riley Griffiths, Gabriel Basso, Ron Eldard, Kyle Chandler
Screenplay: J.J. Abrams
UK Release Date: 5th August

Quick Plot: Joe and his school friends are making their own zombie film on their super 8 camera in the Summer of 1979. One night the young team witness a dramatic train and truck collision and since start to notice disappearances and weird activity occurring in their small town.

Review: Super 8 has been described as the 'most eagerly-anticipated and original films of the summer blockbuster season' and with the fantastic UK reviews it received I was excited to see it, thinking it would be good and I'd enjoy it. It's so much more than that.
It's written and directed by J.J. Abrams but I've only seen a few of his works. He produced Cloverfield which I enjoyed and he directed the 2009 Star Trek which is one of the greatest Sci-Fi films I have ever seen, it blew me away. Steven Speilberg we know is a master of films and their genres and with him producing Super 8 it's no surprise the film is groundbreaking. Everyone has compared Super 8 to E.T but say it's not as good which is true of course as something would have to be pretty magnificent to be better but it definitely comes close. I like to say it pays homage to E.T or better yet, Speilberg himself.
Super 8 has it's small, funny lines which aren't meant to make the film funny or make the audience cry with laughter, it is simply adding to the cinematic experience of enjoyment that the film holds. The humorous atmosphere doesn't need to be spoilt either, the kids are on the brink of puberty so there's no rude or crude jokes which most films nowadays feel the need to have.
I jumped a lot. It's not at all scary but Abrams knows how to build up the tension and they were the frightening but utter most wonderful parts. The screen I was in for Super 8 on wasn't overly packed but the character in the screen for me helped my enjoyment of Super 8. When the 'thing' made a noise and the current face character turned to look for what could be there, it was silent and people would start to pull their hands up to their faces, or legs in my case, because you knew it was coming. A few times someone yelped which, I'm surprised wasn't me, and I nearly hit the people next to me I was that taken aback but then after people would laugh at the person next to them because they were scared. But they were definitely some of the best moments. Again I applaud Abrams because the way he has written the story and dialogue is absolutely fantastic. At the end of the day it's a sweet story about a group of young friends having their Summer off school, two of the more central characters have problems with their fathers with a small love story. But Abrams has brought in the sci-fi edge which makes the film somewhat original. Maybe not completely original but nonetheless one of the best films 2011 has seen. I've got to mention the beautifully mastered camera shots in the film which works well with the story of a super 8 camera. They are crafted so well with some point of view shots from the 'thing' and my favourite that occur at night with the smidgen of light seeping through buildings and trees.
Speaking of the 'thing' (and no not the film, I'm afraid of that) I'm not going to post a picture to ruin it because it will spoil the fun. I feel proud I didn't see it on google as the US release for Super 8 seems like years ago now! But let me talk about it with the film. The 'thing' isn't exactly incredible but you don't think about it because it's not developed in a good way. You're neither scared (the tension is the only frightening bit) nor do you have a connection with it and that all works well. The CGI on it is good especially with the film's time setting but it's the very long but well created crash near the first quarter of the film. It's long and loud with explosions and crashes and things being destroyed. Probably one of my favourite bits of the film even if it was very dramatic, it might be long hauled but I liked it and I can't quite compared it to anything right now.
Now onto the part that stole my heart, the cast. There are adults in the film who do their part well, especially Kyle Chandler and Ron Eldard but it's the kids who OWN Super 8. They're all fabulous, there isn't any that strike out as better than one another but it's Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning as more of the leads of the film. Both of their roles are fantastic, well developed and written and even more better portrayed. Elle Fanning who we know from such films as Daddy Day Care, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Somewhere and plenty more is one of the most elegant and sophisticated young actresses of our time and she will go on to make more wonderfully dignified films. Whilst Super 8 is Joel Courtney's first film, it doesn't show on screen as he plays the lead, Joe, a boy who has lost his dear Mother who struggles with a relationship with his father, ever so well. Both lovable leads with their own sweet love story attached, have emotional, believable scenes involving family yet both show the best side of being young teenagers too. You've got to remember that some of the younger actors are acting on acting which might not appear a struggle but can be quite a challenge, especially at a young age but they work at it completely.

I did not want Super 8 to end, I had a smile on my face throughout and I simply enjoyed watching it. Only with a few films have I felt a powerful cinema connection (call me nuts) and Super 8 is one of them, it reminded me of the reason I adore cinema and films. In years to come I hope it will stand out as one of the best sci-fi, family adventure films and personally, I will treasure the whole experience I had with this film for a very long time.

Here is both the teaser for Super 8 that was released last year, which I remember watching more than once to try and see if I could try and work anything out from it.
The second trailer doesn't give too much away but in 2 minutes you've got the main plot.

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