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Monday 3 October 2011

Burl reviews Super 8! (2011)

Hi, it’s Burl here with a review of a pretty new movie – but it seems like a movie from the 1980s nevertheless! I’m talking about Super 8, which is about a bunch of kids trying to make their very own movie on the eponymous gauge in the summer of 1979!

I was a kid just like that – well, a few years later, but still, I was that guy with the Super 8 camera in hand, scratching together all the money I could to buy film and get it processed and putting goopy monster and gore makeup on my friends’ faces! Ha ha, plus ça change, right? Except I wasn’t advanced enough in my filmmaking at the time to use a tripod, like these kids were! Anyway, I was excited to see this picture because I thought that a story about such kids, filmed in an early 1980s Spielbergian style, might be just the ticket!

And in large part it was! At times I was worried it might devolve into the screaming-kids pattern set by The Goonies, a movie I’m not terribly fond of, or the sloppy sentiment of E.T., which I enjoyed at the time - but not as much as either The Thing or Blade Runner! And while Super 8 did indeed slip into both those traps, it usually didn’t stay there for long, which was certainly gratifying!

The kids are out late one night, shooting a scene at a small train station, when they witness a giant train crash perpetrated by their science teacher! Ha ha, I like to think he was the brother of the science teacher in Gremlins! Anyway, even though their reactions to the incredibly spectacular accident are a little too muted for plausibility, and several other aspects of the sequence aggressively beggared belief, it was still pretty enjoyable! Soon there’s a monster on the loose and the military is rounding people up and acting like a bunch of secret-hogs, as they are wont to do!

I won’t say much more about the story except that there were parts which reminded me of Explorers, a movie I’m very fond of but haven’t seen mentioned in any other reviews of this one! And I’ll say that I thought the young actors were mostly very good, and that the whole time I thought the pyro kid with the big braces was named Gary, when in fact his name turned out to be Cary! Ha ha, who was his mom, Joni Mitchell?

The movie inspired me to have a look at some of my own Super 8 work, and maybe I’ll put one or two of them up on my blog, or at least cut together a fun little highlight reel, so keep a sharp lookout!

I award Super 8 three torn sprocket holes! And I kind of like the poster, which seems very much like it too was borrowed directly from the early 80s! Ha ha, where's Short Round?

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