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SUPER movie of the year (so far)

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:13 pm
by Darth Tanner
Took this in during a weekend matinee. I had very much been looking forward to this project ever since I heard J.J. Abrams was involved. Although I was never a follower of the "Alias" television series, Abrams scored twice in my book with CLOVERFIELD and his reboot of STAR TREK. The guy definitely has talent so I went into this one with pretty high expectations and wasn't disappointed in the least. In fact I'll come out and declare this a strong contender for best horror film of the year.

I will start out by saying that SUPER 8 does not utilize the handheld camera gimmick like CLOVERFIELD did. Instead we have a refreshing throwback to the old-fashioned "creature features" of the 70's I grew up watching (appropriate since this movie is indeed set in 1979). Much like CLOVERFIELD the monster is never really seen until the very end which made it much more authentic to me since the classics played a similar card. But there is an engrossing mystery as well as a tender coming-of-age story similar to STAND BY ME. The recreation of the time period was very impressive and I personally enjoyed seeing the West Virginia locations that stood in for Ohio:) The cast is also really terrific despite the lack of any "name stars" (unless you count Elle Fanning). The story follows a group of young teens who witness and train derailment while filming their own zombie movie and the terror that follows. I really don't want to go too much into the story details aside from what you may have read or seen in the previes. Trust me....this movie is something that you have to experience.

I don't think I can praise this movie enough. For me it was a breath of fresh air in what has so far proven to be a dismal year for horror. The only other horror releases on the horizon are FINAL DESTINATION 5 and the remake of FRIGHT NIGHT. Although I'll eventually check those out, I can honestly say I'm not expecting a whole lot. Even if there aren't any quality horror releases for the rest of 2011, I'll definitely hold J.J. Abrams in high regard for making a film that true genre fans can appreciate.

Think I'm crazy?!? Go see it now! I'm curious to hear what our seasoned reviewer has to say about this one:)

Re: SUPER movie of the year (so far)

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:06 pm
by Remo D
Looking forward to seeing this next week!

Re: SUPER movie of the year (so far)

Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:02 pm
by Remo D
After a couple of weeks worth of distractions, I finally caught up with SUPER 8--along with my son and my parents.

As was most certainly the film's intention, SUPER 8 is an affectionately-detailed throwback to the Spielberg films of the 1980s, but with a little more modern "edge," a welcome undercurrent of George A. Romero, and a surprisingly large dose of DISTRICT 9.

I won't bore you with a rehash of the premise unless you absolutely need me to--young amateur filmmakers in 1979 accidentally witness and record the prelude to a potentially earth-shaking event, and that's all you need going in.

J.J. Abrams has proven repeatedly that he's a master of recreating pretty much whatever era he sets his mind to (don't forget all the time travel in LOST, let alone his take on STAR TREK), and all the right details are in place--I was happy to see the Aurora model kits, the posters for HALLOWEEN and DAWN OF THE DEAD, you name it (the soundtrack selections are scarcely surprising, either, but they certainly work in the context).

And so SUPER 8 goes on to replicate quite the authentic 80s experience--and when it comes to the Spielberg factory, that includes both the awe, wonder and spectacle that I always enjoyed AND plenty of the "cue the violins" material that always made me restless. Now, that's ME, of course. Personally, I enjoyed the first half of E.T. a lot more than the second half (the truth of the matter is that in those days I was more into XTRO). And while you may find yourself shocked by what I'm about to say and urge an immediate update in my education, I must confess that I was never moved to see THE GOONIES, and to this day I never have. On the other hand, I'm one of those who strongly sticks up for EXPLORERS--one of the few fantasies involving a group of youngsters that gets it just right in my book. Yes, I'm sorry, but there were one or two characters in SUPER 8 that I was actually hoping might get eaten... still, who am I to complain? That was part of the 80s formula, part of the success with which one can't argue, and the film would have seemed a bit off-kilter without it. The only other observation bordering on mild complaint that I might offer is the overabundance of "boo" scares--it simply gets to the point where every time somebody slows down and says "Do you think we ought to..." then it's time for a BUH-WHOOMPH!!! Small potatoes, though--not a deal-breaker.

I must point out, however, that SUPER 8 isn't quite the ideal "family film" that E.T. was. Sure, THAT film was considered slightly daring when it came to the occasionally realistic language and crude banter you can hear in every schoolyard, but SUPER 8 takes it all the way with rude-but-believable language throughout (including one F-bomb, which really surprised me) AND some remarkably gruesome material here and there (it's not lingered on unduly, but it's definitely there).

By now, I guess it's pretty near impossible to come up with a monster design that's going to bowl me over with its originality (especially in a post-CLOVERFIELD Abrams project), but the visuals are certainly well-crafted, and the climactic "assembly" is right up there with the best of them.

Most of the young cast is appealing, engaging and quite believable, but it's Elle Fanning that absolutely OWNS the film as Alice (stalwart student film actress, invaluable assistant and potentially so much more)--the sequence in which she wants to learn how to act like a zombie is a priceless original and I'll say no more about it here.

Oh, and for my money, the best payoff comes at the very end of the film (don't walk out on the credits). SUPER 8 didn't hit me as one of the very best out there, but it's a very pleasant diversion and a trip certainly worth taking.

Now, perhaps somebody can explain something to me? As you know, I am sick to death of phony, converted 3-D being applied to everything from MY SOUL TO TAKE through THOR and I've been choosing the 2-D versions of almost everything these days (when I'm given a choice). SUPER 8, however, did NOT come out in 3-D... and yet it seems to have been MADE for it. From beginning to end, the compositions SCREAM for the process--not as a conversion, but as it was actually MADE. This, of all mainstream movies, is one that I would have really and truly appreciated in genuine 3-D... so what happened?

Re: SUPER movie of the year (so far)

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:04 pm
by Chris Slack
I went to this yesterday and thought it was pretty darn good.