Friday, June 10, 2011
Defintely not 'Kid Stuff' :'Super 8' Trailer
Give a kid a film camera (the Super 8 of the title) and what might he capture?
A stylized "zombie murder" complete with make-up and fake blood? The dialogue of fated lovers delivered by 'play-acting' kids? Or, a catastrophic crash involving a pick-up truck and a military cargo train with mysterious antecedents?
That's the basic premise of this adrenalized collaboration between producer Steven Spielberg and co-writer-director JJ Abrams. As is his wont, Spielberg's (and Abrams') tale centres on kids, and amateur movie-making kids at that. One, the director is a foul-mouthed egomaniac, one is a pyromaniac and then there's the "nerd star" who spends his time building model trains and planes and dabbling in make-up while he attempts to cope with the horrific death of his mother.
Chaos arrives in the form of the aforementioned crash, and from there onward, Abrams ruthlessly and skillfully pushes our buttons, making use of a full range of plot dynamics: there's the father-son (and father-daughter) relationship, kid bonding, military heavy-handedness and, of course, that early teen matinee staple... the alien monster movie.
But to their credit, the movie dream team handle the material with tremendous aplomb, even the potential minefield of teen romance between said nerd (Joel Courtney, of whom precious little is known before this) and Elle Fanning (who shares her sister Dakota's knowingness but backs it up with a winning combination of sardonicism and vulnerability). The unravelling of the plot points is near flawless and the suspension of disbelief is near total. In addition to the teens, the film boasts good turns from Kyle Chandler (from TV shows like "Home Front" and "Early Edition") and the rarely seen Ron Eldard (anybody remember 'Bakersfield PD?" - didn't think so) as the father of the girl.
In simple talk, behind all the efx and the hype of the names involved, "Super 8" is old-school, fun-in-a-dark-room, edge-of-the-seat movie magic. This is a project that has laid hold of Spielberg's imagination even before 'ET". In Abrams, it seems he has found the simpatico partner with which to bring it to life. Just a couple of kids with a camera. The results are ours to enjoy.