Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts on Super 8...


Super 8 is a sort of a throwback to those great 80’s movies like the Goonies, E.T., Stand By Me, etc. The whole time I was watching this movie, I was remembering what those movies meant to me as a kid. This movie had that same magic, but I’m also old enough that I realized this film will belong to the kids of today in a way that it can’t for us adults.

One of my favorite elements was that the kids in the film are attempting to make a zombie movie. (You definitely have to stay for the credits during which they play the entire movie the kids made). I like how almost none of the events that happen around them such as the train crash, an evacuation of the town by the military, etc, deter them from their goal. Instead the director talks about production value and they film in front of the train crash or in front of the military personnel searching a house.

It brought back memories of when I wrote movie scripts and tried to film them with my friends (and sometimes my brother and my father too). The sad thing is I think the kids in the movie outdid anything I managed to film, but I’d like to think my scripts were better. I dusted off an old gem so you can judge for yourself. Dave and Stanley Scene: Bach Vs. Chopin

Ironically the premise of the first movie I wrote was that me and a bunch of my friends filmed a horror movie in our high school’s lunchroom during lunch using nothing but a Super 8 camera. The novelty of using such an old technology seemed like a neat idea. I guess I was about 11 years ahead of the trend.

The thing I remember best about directing is how you are in control, everyone from the actors to the cameramen are looking to you to tell them what to do. It is deeply scary and at the same time somewhat intoxicating.

Out of the cast I was most impressed with Elle Fanning who I thought gave an excellent performance that seemed wise beyond her years.

Super 8 definitely requires you to suspend your disbelief at times, but it is exciting and entertaining and I’d highly recommend it.


  1. So glad to see you enjoyed it. You are so correct in your assessment of Elle Fanning. Her performance seemed even more amazing to me when I saw it a second time.

    What I am not sure I agree with in your review is this statement, or if I do agree on one level than I also believe the opposite is true:

    "I’m also old enough that I realized this film will belong to the kids of today in a way that it can’t for us adults."

    While movies like E.T. and Goonies are films I felt were made for kids, I don't see Super 8 as a film with only that focus. I think the focus is more on people who were kids in the time period in which this film was set. I do see kids enjoying the film immensely, don't get me wrong, but I don't see kids identifying with it to the level that adults have the potential to. Today's kid is not going to get nor feel connected to the world of the 70's that the film children live in. If they are inspired to make movies they won't be inspired to do them in a way that is similar to the way that directors like Abrams had to do when he was a kid. Better tech and editing equipment etc. make the filming references of today more of a mystery to kids. They do things on You Tube with iphones. They aren't doing things on film.

    Without beating this thing to death, I guess in the end I do agree with you on one level. But I also believe that adults can connect as deeply if not more so with this film because of our own nostalgia for that time period, because we all (hopefully) remember the magic of those first adolescent crushes that we had, and we understand better today how important those bonds of friendship are than we did when we were kids.

  2. You could be right Carl maybe kids won't appreciate Super 8 or maybe they will.

    The only point I was trying to get at is that as a kid I remember watching certain movies over and over and over again. Movies like Star Wars, The Goonies, Home Alone, the Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

    I felt like this this movie had that same sort of magic for me and I imagined maybe it would be the kind of movie a kid of today would want to watch over and over again.

    As much as I liked Super 8 I know I'll probably only ever watch it a handful of times. I'm not a kid anymore.

    That's all I was trying to say.

  3. I should know better than to respond to a post late at night when I am deliriously tired. I basically made a few obvious statements. Of course adults and kids are going to be affected differently by this film and of course both can possibly experience a strong impact.

    And who am I, at 42, to presume to know how any kid will be affected by this.

    I know now exactly what you are saying and agree. I watched many of those same movies over and over and over again and am more likely to go back to those films that made an impact on my childhood to watch again as an adult than I am to pick up something new and have the same experience with. I've seen Super 8 twice now and I can imagine watching it again when it comes out on DVD, but not many, if any, more times after that. But I just rewatched all the Star Wars films recently.

    So point definitely taken. :)

    I would actually like to talk to some kids, particularly boys, that are around the same age as these kids to see what they thought of Super 8.

  4. I see very few movies - just not a big fan, I guess - but this one does sound like fun.