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SUPER 8 (2011)

>> Saturday, June 11, 2011

There's a movie that exists out there right now called Son of Rambow, as well as one called Be Kind Rewind. What do these movies have in common with writer and director J.J. Abrams' latest flick? All three are about something that's very close to heart for me - making movies. Does that make them all self-referential and arrogant? Surprisingly, no. It makes them films about something we all have in common - the love and nostalgia for our childhood innocence, beliefs and above all, imagination.

What Super 8 has been incredibly good at since the teaser debuted in Spring of 2010 has been keeping it's plot, it's themes and it's creature a secret. If this were a Michael Bay film trailer (which I thanked God every second it wasn't), you would have been privy to seeing the beast and the destruction it caused - thinking it was 90% of the film. Super 8 is not so much about the mysterious creature causing all the ruckus as it's about the imagination of the kids involved, the good of a child's heart and the intentions of a kid who just really, really wants to make a movie - an idea that's undoubtedly something Abrams is close to.

As I was leaving the cinema I heard a lot of people saying they were disappointed with this movie and didn't like it. I believe those same people by the way, probably left Transformers 2 proclaiming it was the best film they've ever seen. If you didn't like Super 8, I truly believe you were either in the wrong mind frame to see it or you just simply had a bad childhood. There's absolutely no reason to hate on this film, I wouldn't discount this being one of the better films of the summer. For those of you too focused on banging the chick you went to see this with, understand that this may be one of those movies you may have to see again to fully understand the symbolism contained within Super 8. It's not the black and white, easy to understand picture it appears to be, and I wouldn't have expected less from the man who created Lost.

Does all this mean that I think Super 8 is a perfect film? No. It has it's little problems here and there, mainly being that it drags in some places and seems to contain a few cliché moments. But, Star Trek had it's problems as well and we can't forget about producer Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, can we? But, even with all Abrams has accomplished as a writer/director, I still feel he's newer to the scene and may need to do a little more leg work before we get a career-defining film out of him. While his movies are still a grade above a lot of the shit we see out in theatres today, I still feel that magical something missing from his work. That something may be another decade's worth of experience.

Regardless, Super 8 gets a wide open door. It has something a lot of movies lately lack - heart. While I wasn't around to see E.T. in theatres when it was released in 1982, I imagine a lot of people would have felt the same way leaving that film. Like E.T. though, I believe Super 8 will eventually gain momentum and the same kind of cult status. While it's more difficult in a generation where kids are spoiled and would rather shoot aliens than understand them, more films like Super 8 may be a solution. I will say though, I'm glad a movie called Super 8 was (thankfully) not in 3D.

*Stills courtesy of Amblin Entertainment


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