Saturday, June 11, 2011
Super 8. A-
With the internet it's almost impossible to not see a movie without knowing a little about advanced word from the press saying whether the movie's any good or not. While one might find it hard to resist Ebert's wednesday night review of a film, or some other favorite critic's early take, it's best to see a movie with a mind purified of others' objective or subjective opinions. While I usually fail at this, I did manage to withhold from any early response to J.J Abram's latest, Super 8. It was just me and the movie, exactly the way it should be. I saw it with three of my sisters and we all loved it. It's about a group of kids in 1979 making a movie on an old super 8 camera for a film competition. It's summer and they've managed to sneak out of their homes to film a key night scene by a railroad. Because of "production values," they shoot the scene just as a train is speeding by. It's magic, it's perfect, and then a truck appears on the track facing the train and the next thing the kids know is they're running for their lives as the train is destroyed around them. Super 8 is the movie of the summer, so good is so many ways. It's sort of like a sci-fi version of Let Me In, also a passion project made by Abrams' friend from childhood, Matt Reeves. Super 8 is concerned primarily with this group of kids and how various conflicts impact their lives and their relationships with one another and with their parents. They're at the perfect age; old enough to impart feelings of loyalty, betrayal, and love, but young enough to jump down a massive hole without considering the consequences. The movie is also an exciting adventure, a mystery that had me genuinely surprised by the end. Abrams is too clever to let the audience know what he's doing as the movie goes along. There's nothing really wrong with the film, except for a dull score by Michael Giacchino and at times a clear sense of desired effect. For the most part the movie is a wonderful experience, primarily because Abrams is so good at so many different aspects of making movies. I mentioned the importance of seeing a movie free of the influence of another's viewpoint mainly because Super 8 is a perfect example of why this is a deal. It's the kind of movie that you need to decide for yourself how good or how terrible it is. How does it make you feel?