REMEMBER a time when going to the movies was all about the experience, to be woven into the magic of great story-telling and transported into whole another dimension?
This reviewer does, and boy did it feel great to come out of the cinema feeling that every bang delivered was worth your buck. Those days might seem long gone. That is until J J Abrams decided to write a love letter to his idol Steven Spielberg.
Designed specifically to rekindle some of that old excitement, nostalgic sentimentality and all, the geek auteur with the supposed Midas touch (everything from Mission: Impossible III to Cloverfield to Star Trek to TV’s Lost and Alias were all hits) brings us Super 8.
Everything you need to know about this secrecy-shrouded film, you probably already do. Yes, it’s about a bunch of kids trying to make a zombie movie, when they witness a horrific train crash which starts a series of strange and mysterious occurrences in their small Ohio town. It’s also a lesson in the Steven Spielberg oeuvre as you play “spot your favourite Spielberg moment” throughout the movie.
Call it Close Encounters Of The Third Kind meets ET meets Jaws meets The Goonies meets every smidgen of sci-fi trope you can remember from the 1970s and 1980s. All wrapped up in gloss of Cloverfield.
Respecting all the old-fashioned filmmaking concepts like characterisation, emotion and storytelling, Abrams follows through and, reminiscent of his mentor’s methods, makes wonderful use of his most prized commodities – the children. Easing out first-rate performances from a motley crew of real and raw child actors, Abrams captures their innocence, sensitivity and untrained emotion that will warm the cockles of any cynical audience’s heart.
The ingenuity of first-timer Joel Courtney, the willowy Elle Fanning, the hilarious Ryan Lee and confident Riley Griffiths drive the film, especially when it unintentionally gets too caught up and trapped in its own meta.
Some will argue Super 8 lacks that emotional punch and heart so masterfully orchestrated by Spielberg, but no one can doubt Abrams’ enthusiasm as he tells this coming-of-age tale, bringing you back to his and ultimately your wondrous nostalgic childhood days.
Sure, I could do with a less melodramatic ending, but nonetheless, it’s magical and awe-inspiring. It’s signature Spielberg. Or rather, it’s J J Abrams doing nostalgic sentimental Spielberg. And that’s not a bad bang for your buck, is it?
Written by: Horaki Kashiwa