Posted by: greercn | August 10, 2011

Super 8

Zombies and aliens may form the basis of my dream movie, especially when they are beautifully created. The sad fact is that in paying homage to so many of the great undead and space creature flicks, a little heart is lost from “Super 8”.

This film starts brilliantly. Yes, you may be irritated by the dead mothers of the kids plot – I was – but it’s introduced in a touching way and helps establish the personalities of the kids and the adults here.

Men are hard and carry responsibility, or they are drunk and sad. Being a single parent is especially tough for a guy. You weren’t looking for any insights deeper than those in fortune cookies, were you?

Good. You won’t get them.

The kids sneak out to make  a movie. It’s 1979 but you have no idea why. It’s an excuse to use some wonderful music, including The Knack’s “My Sharona”.  Maybe it’s just a device for ignoring the laptops, Ipods and cell phones children are now born with?

It could be to pay respect to the Super 8 cameras Steven Speilberg and J.J. Abrams grew up with? “ET” meets “Cloverfield”? It’s a little more like “Close Encounters” meets “Lost”.

You are spared Richard Dreyfuss spending HOURS playing with mud. You get an amazing train crash, a wonderful alien and terrific child actors. You also get quite a lot being blown up.

In the main role of Joe,  Joel Courtney is a very likeable everyman – or even everykiddie – figure.  Alice is Elle Fanning, who has a great future, although her Fay Wray with King Kong reminders get a bit too much.

Riley Griffiths as Charlie is directing the film (about zombies) within a film (about kids and aliens) and he has a fine future, taking over from Zack Galifianakis when the time comes.

Was it really so difficult to get the dialogue right for 1979? “Awesome”, “mint” and other words used in their 2011 meanings do jar. If you weren’t alive, let alone an adult in 1979, this will not bother you one little bit.

The adults are sterotypes but do a reasonable job as accessories to the children.

If you love Jules Verne, you will enjoy the scenes in the caves. The spaceship is very satisfactory. Although you are invited to feel the alien’s pain, you probably won’t feel much of that.

The authorities and the army are the bad guys. Given the slew of recent American movies featuring this idea, I figure that Hollywood is now anti-war and finding lots of ways to say so, via the filmed cruel reactions of men in uniform to creatures from far-away galaxies.

As the end credits roll, you see the film about zombies the kids were making. This is a rather delightful framing device which enhances the whole film.

The audience at Stratford Picturehouse loved the first half of the 111 minutes, but fidgeted through the second half. You could see those phones glowing in the dark and hear people whispering.

You should see this. People will be discussing it for a long time to come. For me, it’s like ice cream and pie. I enjoy it thoroughly, but I feel something is missing, if I have it by itself.

I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I will remember it for very long. It lacks warmth and delight and is a little too knowing, for my taste.

I leave you with The Knack’s “My Sharona” which is always guaranteed to make me smile.



  1. […] fay wray – Google Blog Search « The Kings of The Swingers – The Film […]

  2. My super8 seems a want and I can not. An attempt to approach the spirit of film style eighties Goonies or ET, but it remains just that, a try.
    The story is hackneyed to the utmost and the characters of children are archetypal ad nauseam: the fat smartass, the bastard little guy, the protagonist who has just suffered a disgrace and the pretty girl.
    Is entertaining, but of course, any comparison with the aforementioned ET, The Goonies and Stand by Me, for example, is a real insult.

    • I liked this more than you did, although it’s not perfect. I though it was great to see a film about kids that was free of phones and modern technology. The train crash was amazing. However, it didn’t make my list of top 10 films of the year.

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