Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Super 8

I stopped by the Empire Cinema on West Portal for the first time quite awhile. The last film I can remember seeing there is Downfall, the 2004 German film about the last days in Hitler's bunker. The Empire is a Cinemark/CinéArts theater.

I wanted to see Super 8 on the last day it screened at the Empire.

Super 8 starring Joel Courtney & Elle Fanning; directed by J.J. Abrams; (2011) - Official Website

Super 8 is the fourth general release film I've seen this summer. The others were Bridesmaids, The Hangover Part 2 and Midnight in Paris.

I'm not going to recount the plot since that is easily found on the internet. I liked Super 8 quite a bit. A few highlights:

1) There is a tremendous train crash that must last two or three minutes.

2) The film was like a cross between Stand By Me and E.T.. I thought the film would have been better without the alien subplot. Just throw a MacGuffin in there as to why the US Air Force is imposing martial law. A cheesy, drive-in resolution to the Air Force presence would have been more in keeping with the 1970s setting and the super cheap, Super 8 film within a film. Even better, just ratchet it down. Why even have a space alien? Keep that insane train crash, create some rumor as to the cause and have the kids investigate with camera in tow. The alien and associated CGI threw Super 8 off kilter. Super 8 is basically a coming of age story with a space alien layered on.

3) The Knack's My Sharona!

4) The film within the film is shown in the closing credits. With the Super 8 cameras and the teenage cast, it reminded me of the teenage shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark which I saw at the 2008 SF Indiefest.

5) Steven Spielberg has a producer credit on Super 8 and Super 8 looks and feels like Spielberg film from the 1980s.

6) Tipped off by multiple sources, I listened for the sound of a film projector during the quiet moments of the film. Not all the quiet moments but on several at the beginning, you can her the rattle of a film projector. That sound is part of the sound effects for the film as most screenings including the one I attended were projected digitally.

7) Elle Fanning is incredibly talented for an 11 or 12 year old actress which was her age during the filming.

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