Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dollar Bin Splurge of the Week:Super 8(2011)

By Eric Polk-
From the rare slice of Americana known as the drive-in, I saw the latest from das wunderkind director, J.J.Abrams. Super 8 is a tale set in a fictional Ohio town(in actually, Weirton, WV, a town I live twenty minutes away from). A group of middle-school kids, one of whom had recently lost his mother in a steel mill accident, are in the midst of shooting a homemade zombie film when suddenly, a truck crashes into a train and all proverbial hell breaks loose.

Everywhere in town, people are disappearing, power is going haywire and dogs are running...

NO!NO!NO! Not again....

Meanwhile, the millitary intervenes as it searches for some odd Rubik's Cube-like pieces the train left in it's disasterous wake. As nothing will stop the U.S. Air Force, the tension between both a father and son and same father and man who didn't take a workshift on the die the same father's wife died is becoming more and more ratched.

As this is taking place, the kids convince the film store clerk, as part of a deal to introduce him to one of the boys' sisters, to drive them back to their school. There, they break into their biology teacher's(the man who hit the train) stash of confiscated items, thinking he may have hidden in the stash documentation about his research and clues. . In the papers, film, and audio recordings they find, they discover that the government imprisoned an extraterristrial that crashed on Earth in 1958. The alien only wished to return home but was instead imprisoned and tortured by the Air Force in order to learn from the creature's advanced technology and intellect. One film shows the biology teacher, a researcher at the time, attacked by the alien. This physical contact caused him to form a telepathic bond with the creature, through which he learned that the creature only wanted to go home and that everyone would pay dearly for keeping the creature captive and torturing it. By colliding with the train, he hoped to free the creature.

The Air Force solders storm the school and capturethe boys as they work their way through their biology teacher's stash of files.  The soldiersplace the children on a security bus and head back to the Air Force base. On the way, the creature attacks them and flips the bus on its side. Nelec's men are killed while the boys escape by breaking through the vehicle's glass windows.

I consider this movie to be a throwback to the Spielberg(producer of this film)era of E.T., Close Encounters, etc. The kids aren't angsty and brooding, they're regular boys(and one girl) just trying to make a movie. The soundtrack is top notch, acting pretty good. Where this movie is fails me is the tail end. You've seen one alien film, you've seen them all, Super 8 is no exception. The cheesy symbolism at the end brought it down another notch. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad film, but it could have been a bit better.


Andrew said...

You nailed it....
This one felt like Goonies to me.

Eric Polk said...

Yeah, the kid parts had that vibe. Even though I'm not a big fan of The Goonies, I still miss the times when in films, kids weren't so brooding. They would just be kids!