Monday 13 June 2011
Color me all kinds of nostalgic, but from the first frame of Super 8, I was nine years old again and tagging after my older cousins during summers in my dad’s hometown of Pana, IL. Everything about this movie took me right back to childhood and I settled in for an amazing ride in my cousin Charles’ old 1970 El Camino with that 8 track blaring, my legs sticking to the seat. This was a purely joyous experience and I honestly hope to see this again in the theater before it leaves.
J.J. Abrams wrote and directed as though he were channeling Spielberg, there isn’t really any of his original style that he is known for, but that didn’t matter. I ate this up like a hot fudge sundae and licked the damn spoon. The movie is E.T. meets Close Encounters with a dash of Jaws and it was beautiful. I think J.J. amped up the Spielberg style and took it where these previous films could have gone had they been made later. Even so, the story is fresh, dealing with not just alien monsters and friendship, but also with loss and finding your way past grief.
Kyle Chandler gives the performance of his career as the deputy, Jackson Lamb. A grieving man trying to put his life together, he knows something is not right with this train accident, but he is dismissed because of his family tragedy. It isn’t until the sheriff disappears that he is able to step up and act on his suspicions. Lamb is smart, quick-thinking and we see him struggle to push past his grief because his town needs him. Ron Eldard is also terrific as Louis Dainard, a drunk, broken man who realizes too late that he is all his daughter has left. And the rest of the supporting cast is so honest, quirky and real that you feel like you’re amongst the people you grew up around.
There are no real slow parts to this film as the pacing is spot on. The thrill of the unexpected hovers around everything like an invisible electric current. Just when you think you’re about to settle in for some big drawn out drama moments, something else happens to scare you, make you laugh, make you gasp and grip the arms of your seat.
For me one of the coolest parts of this movie was the music and Paul Apelgren chose some awesome tunes. From My Sharona to Don’t Bring Me Down, I was groovin’ along. I also loved Michael Giacchino’s original score. In fact at one point, I was nodding my head and tapping my foot in time to beat and glanced around to see other shadowy folk moving right along with me. It was a darkened theater flash mob.
I have to say see this and see this now. Super 8 is a wonderfully nostalgic, exciting roller coaster experience that will stay with you for a long time.