Saturday, June 11, 2011

Super 8

J. J. Abram's homage to early Spielberg is like two movies jammed together. One is a heartfelt ode to childhood, about a group of middle schoolers making a zombie movie with a super 8 camera. The second is a monster movie, kind of a more mean-spirited ET. I loved the former and was pretty immune to the latter. They never really meshed, and I never cared about (or was scared by) the monster story. But the kid actors, in particular Elle Fanning as the only girl in the group, and Riley Griffiths as the dedicated zombie movie director ("Production values!") were my standouts. I almost wish the movie had just been about the kids, their dead-end town, and the making of that movie. The monster seemed tacked on. Imagine if at the end of Stand by Me the body that they'd hiked into the woods to see came alive and chased the kids for half an hour. That's what this felt like to me.


  1. Oh, too bad. I still would like to see this, Peter. Though I wish I hadn't read your review and learned what the film is actually about. Oh well, I'll just pretend I don't know. :)

  2. Elle Fanning singlehandedly saved the Fanning family acting dynasty for me. Way to go! I am quite sure they were worried about my opinion. It's like she came down from another planet herself, and just was this amazing actress. I thought the kids were the best, which was good, since they were the focus of the whole thing.

    I actually liked it, the ending was problematic, a little too much "Modern Day Spielberg" and not enough "Old School Spielberg". But for the most part, Abrams wanted to tell the stories of both Chief Brody AND the ET gang. You can’t do that, because then you’re trying to do a odd-man-out-and-on-a-mission story and a rag-tag-kids-surviving-in-an-adult-world story. The story just loses focus.

    I loved it because I can see the care Abrams put into it. My only problem is that he wasn’t patient enough to chose one movie for "Super 8" and save the rest for his next movie, and instead made all his future movies at once. But overall I had fun.

    I also think Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams should just keep taking turns putting out movies every other Summer.