Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Super 8" (2011) - Movie Review

I remember the hazy memories of watching “Goonies” and the bits and pieces of “E.T” and it is not strange that those are brought back in me watching J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8”. Not alone he places the story in that era the films mentioned came out but also provides a sci-fi that has great kids adventuring through the little town of Lillian. With Kyle Chandler coming off from “Friday Night Lights” to give a composed performance not replicating Coach Taylor, “Super 8” becomes a nostalgic experience and an entertaining one.

There are perfect emotional setups as the films begins with Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) losing his mother to an accident and his father Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) is the generation dad that had no contact with his son as his wife is the house manager. He is now a single dad lamenting his loss and being tough on the front. The relationship between Joe and Jack needs resolution. Then there is Joe’s best buddy and a passionate director at such a young age is Charles (Riley Griffiths). Joe is good for make up taking his artistic skills from his mother and Elle Fanning as Alice comes to the childhood crush to work on the summer film Charles is making.

The production unit begins their important scene on the railway station and it was enthusiastic to see Charles work his people up as a demanding good director. I wish I could be like him and make use of everything and anything around to add production value. But then again when a train derails, an unknown creature escapes and US Air Force swarms over this little town, Charles gets any director would dream of. A series of perfectly made unfortunate events for movie making!

This reviewer has long forgotten of a kid’s adventure story (yes, I have not yet seen the Harry Potter films) and to see it being shot with a shrewdness of Abrams makes up for that lost opportunities. So far Abrams has directed the box office hits “Mission Impossible III” and “Star Trek”, both of which were evident that these subject matter however cheesy and preposterous have been gets a life supporting system to wake it up. He surely seems to have mastered the art of adding human emotions into blockbuster mindlessness. There is just enough seriousness and gravity in his past films that it takes this fodder of Hollywood haphazard exercise into something meaningful. “Super 8” gets more of it than his previous two ventures.

Like M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs” which I was not a big fan of, the film keeps this creature that gets loose of the air force train hidden and out of focus. Suddenly the dogs disappear and engines from all the cars vanish. Added to that the Sheriff of the town absconds leaving Jack in the middle of people’s complains in waves and the Air Force shutting him down of any information. In between he has to deal with his wife’s loss and with the man whose shift his wife took to succumb to the accident.

Noah Emmerich comes as the secretive and egomaniacal Colonel Nelec. Again it is so predictable of his character but Abrams somehow breathes life into these known people seen in previous films. The main strategy he employs is getting these gang of kids to be those kids looking for adventure and trying to make things bigger than them in the small little town. Then there is Elle Fanning coming with similar talent as that of her sister in a much mature and cute performance.

Yet it is Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, the goofy little fire mongering Zach Mills as Preston and the protagonist in Charles’ film Martin played by Gabriel Basso along with Ryan Lee’s Carey that take away this film from the hands of adults. They are at the genesis of teenage year exploring the limits and spurring rebelliousness. Their dorky character lands up in teaming within themselves and be in the midst amongst the greatest moments in the human history.

“Super 8” pays off emotionally that does not require Sam Mendes or Paul Thomas Anderson to be involved but is not vacant as that of Michael Bay. This balance it has with the precise amount of drama, loss, love, adventure and science fiction provides the smoothest ride for a very familiar road. Its stand against 3D definitely works in its favour and the IMAX helps out the larger than universe in a small town environment. And the kids make it all entertaining and “Super 8” will be played not far from future to be the perfect Sunday evening film.


Howard Roark said...

Year of release is 2012? Is it because the movie happens in the future?!?


Ashok said...

Blast from the past about the mistake on the future. Nagesh the dude, How are you????