I am happy to say that I saw an awesome movie a few nights ago - 'Super 8'!! I went into the theater completely spoiler free (which is part of what made it so awesome) so I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone (the only way I can truly describe it is that it is just that: An Experience). Here is what I can say about it:
1. It’s very much a “JJ Abrams” film – As a huge JJ fan, I can say that my expectations were super high - I have seen him be not just creative but downright innovative. I have been disappointed by JJ before (recently with Undercovers). While some are calling this film “unoriginal” or “Spielbergian” – I personally think it is very clearly a JJ creation. Yes, he pays a respectful homage to past Spielberg films such as E.T. and Stand By Me but it was not a copy of any film. In fact it has several "JJ" elements such as:
- a threat that we don’t actually see until more than ½ way into the film (a' la Cloverfield, Lost )
- people with “daddy issues” (a' la Lost, Alias)
- a steady pace of action, plot and character development (a' la Star Trek)
- a sci-fi tale that is grounded in reality (ala pretty much everything he has ever done minus Felicity).
2. The kids are kids – To be honest, films like this just don't exist anymore - which sort of makes me sad. When I think about great films starring middle school aged kids my mind goes straight to The Goonies or even better - Stand By Me. I think we live in a world where kids are glued to the Internet and/or video games (and aren't that interesting). This film brings the kids "adventure tale" back outside but still keeps it relevant by having the kids make a film (which is totally awesome for all sci-fi geeks). Also, the kids actually felt like a real group of friends - kudos to the casting director.
3. The melodrama was tolerable - I admit the ending was a bit over-dramatic and mushy but it somehow worked because the whole film was built up to evoke emotion - if you didn't feel something you might be dead inside.