Friday, 19 August 2011

Super 8, dir/wr. J. J. Abrams, st. Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler

In a time when Hollywood is being derided more than ever for looking to the past for inspiration and not paying enough attention to forging brave new creative and thematic paths, it's deeply satisfying to watch Super 8 and be reminded that there is still much that filmmaking from bygone years has to teach us. In this case, it's pacing and characterisation; there's a satisfyingly reassuringly slow build up, punctuated by the Great Grandmama of train crashes, after which we're hurtled through ninety minutes of Flight Of The Navigator -style action and adventure. It seems a little disingenuous to call Abrams a shameless cribber when Spielberg himself has a producer credit, and not even being the perpetrator of the Greatest Series Finale Disappointment In Event Television History can sway me from admitting the man clearly knows in which direction to point a camera. Super 8 is nostalgic and lean filmmaking, intelligently plotted, and if ever there was a film to turn me on to CGI, this could be a contender. It's also gracefully and sensitively performed. So anaesthetised as we have become to expecting alpha-male leads, and more recently, alpha-female leads (but still, you know, like, hot ones) in this kind of genre, it's great to see a film populated with kids, as insecure and fearful of the world as their adult counterparts.