MOVIE REVIEW – “SUPER 8”
So, yeah. Real men cry. They cry, like, a lot. Especially during this movie. Real dudes do. Non-real dudes don’t cry. They probably spend all their time being emotionless and boning women. Meanwhile, real men like me sit back, watch Super 8, cry some, then talk to women about the Kardashians or whatever the hell women talk about.
Writer/Director JJ Abrams second feature film, after the awesome Star Trek reboot, brings us a shot of Spielbergian nostalgia that movies so desperately need. Spielberg has always had this way of making grand, impossible stories, sticking in average Joes, and making the viewer believe all of it is possible. His films are always full of adventure and action, but steeped in interesting and real characters (not counting Schindler’s List. That movie is the worst comedy ever.)
And Abrams has found a way to bring all those feelings, emotions, and storytelling techniques and add his own flare (literally, lens flares everywhere.)
Joe Lamb and his father Jackson are having a hard time coping with the death of his mother. Jackson is distant, barely home, concentrating on his police work. Meanwhile, Joe is hanging out with his friends, creating a hilarious zombie movie, shot on super 8mm film.
By now, you know what happens. They witness a train crash that contains a monster or alien or a Kardashian, I’m not sure (it’s actually an alien but I had to act like I didn’t know so that joke would work.) Strange things start happening in town and the kids, while shooting their film, search for clues.
The film works only because the kids work. They act like real friends. They’re shitty to one another, but not in a mean way, but in that friend way. They swear, like kids do, they fight over girls and get over it real quick, like young kids do, and they don’t listen to adults. The four friends and the new-to-the-group girl played by Elle Fanning (which, by the way, is having a dramatically better career than her sister now. One is staring in Sofia Coppola movies and big super blockbusters. The other is a boring vampire in the Twilight series. I’m also not sure if either are legal, and I’m too lazy to look it up, so I’m not going to physically compare them) work so well together that you can buy in to what they are doing. You can buy into the fact they are risking their lives for shots or to find out what this monster is.
Kyle Chandler plays Joe’s father and I am happy to see him getting a big part. Chandler seems like a cool dude and he does a great job balancing the tortured father part.
The film has problems, sure. What happens with the mother is a big deal that I won’t give away, but the problems that caused between two families gets resolved a little too easily. Some stuff with the monster goes unexplained. Does he eat all people? Why is he eating one person, but not another? I don’t remember if he captured any minorities. Is the monster racist or just not into dark meat? Is that joke racist? The movie never answers these questions.
I can get real picky, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to be cynical about everything. I don’t want to constantly be picking things apart. I know there are problems, but I don’t care. It is nice to watch a film that makes me feel like a kid again. It makes me feel like I’m watching ET or Jurassic Park again, back when things were easy and I wasn’t always concerned with character arcs or plot devices or stuff like that.
Best movie of the summer, so far.