Super 8

Teaser campaigns, viral marketing and the meeting of two great minds all meant that ‘Super 8’ had a lot to live up to and sadly it just couldn’t. The trouble with J J Abrams meeting his hero in Spielberg and then trying to emulate his style from his peak period in the eighties (he has achieved it, ‘borrowing’ bits from so many of Spielberg’s films that had he not been involved he probably would have sued) is that the film never really finds its own identity. What made films like E.T., Jaws, Goonies and Stand By Me great was they were so original and different and so amazingly iconic, classic movie moments that stood out and set them apart. Most modern films I see I can’t remember what happened in them just hours after I’ve seen them but who can forget the boulder scene from Indiana Jones or the bike flight from E.T.. All the classic kids films that ‘Super 8’ wants so badly to be had one thing in common and that is a solid story, it doesn’t matter how farfetched it was, as long as you cared and it took you on a fantastic journey and provided an escape from the real world for an hour and a half. These films didn’t have the technology or budgets of today’s blockbusters but they did have charm and genuine moments that movie memories are made of, the wow factor. So what of ‘Super 8’ well it is basically The Goonies meets Cloverfield, a group of kids verses a monster/alien (that drastically changes size depending on the scene), its filmmaking by numbers as every box is ticked to create the most formulaic template imaginable, kid who lost his mum, fat kid who likes eating, kid who likes explosives, pretty girl with daddy issues etc. all bound together by the common goal of saving the town from the mysterious train cargo from outer space. You probably wouldn’t mind so many unrealistic acts and plot holes if the story was strong enough to carry it through but at no point does the film surprise or shock, from the moment it starts you can tell exactly where it’s going. What starts of quite promising quickly descends into clichés and cheesiness and finishes with an ending so flat it makes you wonder if they just gave up half way through. With the best bits of what’s been before ‘Super 8’ could have been great but just like taking ingredients from a variety of other meals and mixing them together in the hope of creating a new exciting dish, sometimes you have to concede that it just doesn’t work and the sum of the parts actually leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

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