Movie Monday: Super 8

This Monday I went and saw the much-hyped yet ever-mysterious Super 8, J.J. Abram’s latest foray onto the silver screen. The early trailers for the movie definitely had the Cloverfield vibe going for them. Disjointed and confused images tell you nothing except, “This movie is a J.J. Abrams film.” If I recall correctly, it didn’t even name the title again, like Cloverfield. I might be wrong about that. Anyway, going into the movie I knew little more than the fact that it starred Coach Eric Taylor and that J.J. Abrams wrote and directed it. I also learned this weekend that Steven Spielberg is a producer of the film from an article somewhere titled something to the effect of, “Is J.J. Abrams the next Spielberg?” I chuckled at that title, but as I watched the movie, I found the article’s title sticking with me as I watched the movie.

This movie felt like a combination of Spielberg and Abrams. Mysterious, suspenseful, and exciting, yet character-driven and not without heart and humor. As the plot was unfolding (it centers around a group of young teenage boys in the late 1970s, their attempts at a film festival submission using a Super 8 camera, and the mysterious events that unfold in their town), it struck me as having a similar “Spielberg” feel and tone to both E.T. and somewhat like The Goonies (it was Spielberg’s story), at least in how the characters interacted with one another. At the same time, there’s a larger story unfolding in the midst of the small town where the boys live, and it’s in this story that J.J. Abram’s flair for the mysterious comes through in spades. There’s a train wreck (that’s in the trailers), and you know something escapes (also in the trailers), but in true Abram’s style, it’s not until the last act of the film until you get a true look at what it was. You get hints, here and there, but nothing concrete. Throw in a healthy dose of lens flare and no shortage of suspense and you’ve got quintessential J.J. Abrams faire.

But it’s how all of it is woven together that really struck me. There’s a heart to this film that’s touching, and Abrams brings all of the disparate themes together at the right time in a way that feels very, well, Spielbergian. I’m pretty sure that Abrams stated in interviews that this was his homage to the Super 8 films made in the late 1970s, of course, but it also felt very much like his homage to Spielberg. And, knowing that Spielberg was attached to the project as producer, it also felt like a passing of the torch from Spielberg to J.J Abrams.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and would definitely consider seeing it again in the theater.

Have you seen it? I’d love to hear your thoughts or disagreements in the comments. Just no spoilers, please!


1 Response to “Movie Monday: Super 8”

  1. 1 Micah July 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve been an Abrams fan for a while, but this one really blew me away. It definitely felt Spielberg-esque, but that’s not a bad thing when Spielberg himself hasn’t made a great movie in a while.

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