Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super 8

Super 8; science-fiction, USA, 2011; D: J. J. Abrams, S: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths

A rural town in Ohio during the 70s. A bunch of kids from school decide to make a small zombie horror movie using their 8-mm camera. Among them is the director, Charles, as well as Joe, Preston, Cary and Alice. While rehearsing a scene one night, Charles spots a train passing by so he decides to film it in the background while the actors are delivering their lines. However, the train derails and causes a disaster. The army shows up while Joe's dad, the local Sheriff, Jack, investigates strange disappearances of locals and car engines. After their film is developed, Joe and Charles realize they accidentally filmed an alien exiting the cargo of the train. The army evacuates the town, but Charles and his friends return, save the kidnapped Alice and meet the alien who reassembles his spaceship and leaves Earth.

"E.T." meets "Blow-Out": this teen Sci-Fi with a few scary elements is not as inventive in depicting the monster on film as J.J. Abrams' own previous monster film "Cloverfield", but has enough good moments and well thought out ideas to carry the story. The alien does not show up until the last third of the "Super 8", but the tension and interesting events keep the viewers engaged, whereas it was quite clever to have them waiting until they show the alien, exiting the train cargo, accidentally caught on grainy film by the kid protagonists, which gives it a certain flair and taste. The best performance was delivered by Riley Griffiths as Charles, the kid who has the ambition to rally all his classmates from school and prepares them for his amateur horror film. "Super 8" borrows storylines and plot elements from superior Sci-Fi films - for instance, the supblot where the army feigns a disaster to have an excuse to evacuate people from town in order to search for the alien was taken from Spielberg's classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - some plot elements have plot holes (why would the alien kidnap people?), the ending is half-bred and vague whereas one could pose the question if it was probably more appropriate to have grown ups take the center stage, and not kids, considering some harsher scenes. Still, this is a neat viewing experience that holds attention and offers a proportionally well set-up adventure.


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