Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Super 8 Review: Why Generation Connect (Generation X) Will Enjoy This Movie (And Their Parents & Children Too)

Ah, 1979. Sony introduces The Walkman. Rubix Cubes have become a pop icon. The Knack's "My Sharona" is rockin' on the radio. Pink Floyd releases "The Wall". Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" is in stores, on the radio, and playing everywhere. Also on the radio and in record stores you'll find the music of The Bee Gees, ABBA, Donna Summer, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Rod Stewart. Disco is juuuuuuuust dying out. (And I do mean just.)

President Jimmy Carter is President. Gas is about 86 cents a gallon. Movies like Superman, Every Which Way But Loose, Rocky II, Alien, The Amityville Horror, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Moonraker, The Muppet Movie, The Deer Hunter, and Kramer vs. Kramer are playing in theaters.

Turn on the TV and you see: Walter Cronkite anchoring the news, M*A*S*H, The Waltons, Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, Saturday Night Live (Seasons 4 & 5 are on the air), Charlie's Angels, Family Feud, Quincy, M.E., The Love Boat, Three's Company, Dallas ("Who Shot J.R.?"), Different Strokes ("Whatchutalkinbout, Willis?"), Mork and Mindy ( Na-Nu-Na-Nu!) and Taxi.

The arcades are not even in full swing yet so pinball machines are still the thing but a new device called Mattel's Electronics Football is either in the hands or on the wish list of not only every little boy but even grown men.

But I digress.

Super 8 is a fun, funny, and not to sound too cliche but in this case it's true, "Filled with Thrills and Chills!" type of movie.

It takes you back to a simpler time. No computers, no iPhones, no iPads, no Internet. It has elements of E.T., The Goonies, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, Jaws, and a few others.

Watching this movie made me realize what I have been thinking about for the last 20 years or so: "What Happened To That Good Ole' Summer Movie Feeling I Used To Get?"

The nature of Hollywood Super Duper Summer Movies to go bigger and louder has somehow become all too routine and formulaic but in the case of Super 8, J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg manage to re-capture that feeling we had as kids back in the'70s and '80s when we used to see Sci-Fi films in the summer and left the theater or the Drive-In feeling entertained, excited, happy, satisfied, and looking forward to seeing it again.

One of the strong points of this movie is the cast of child actors. They really delivered. Great performances of real kids portraying real kids without it coming off as too campy or too corny or as if they were chosen out of the Hollywood Squeaky Clean Child Actors Guild ("We need 4 cutesy child actors for this movie! Call SAG!") Not here. Just kids being kids.

This movie also surprised me in that aside from all the action and suspense scenes (something Spielberg is a master at) it also has a lot of heart and soul in the story line and actually made me care about the characters.

I must add that not only the pace of the story is great but the humor keeps this movie moving and the audience I was with ate it up. If you were born in the mid to late '60s to early '70s, again, you will especially love this movie.

If it weren't for today's great special effects I could see it being filmed and released in '79, '83, '84, or '85 and folks would still get a kick out of it.

Overall a good, fun summer film that even with the at times excessive cussing from the kids, by today's standards of language, today's kids will enjoy overall and probably find the cussing mild.

One other thing this movie managed to do to the audience including myself: We all stayed to actually see the credits roll. How often does that happen today? Most people leave immediately at the ending except a few. In this case, everyone stayed and we were glad we did. If you stay until the credits roll I think you will too. ~ 4 1/2 Stars. ~ LT

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