by Cherszy (@cherszy)
With all the suspicious and mysterious trailers and rumors about the “big secret” in J. J. Abrams newest flick, Super 8, you can’t help but wonder: what is exactly inside that train crate that’s making my imagination sleepless?
Well, that’s for me (and for those who have watched) to know and for you to find out. But, what I can tell you at this point is that the movie is definitely something you should check out this summer.
A young filmmaking crew sets out to shoot a movie that is supposed to be unlike any other, but what they’ve discovered in the process is something that’s going to change their lives forever. Was what they witnessed that night movie-worthy or were they better off keeping it as a secret? Either way, the secret leaks out and the residents are shaken as their mysterious and unexpected visitor haunts them in the dead of the night.
A thrilling ride to the threatening unknown, Super 8 awakens the action-seeking child within each member of the audience. From exploding train crates to awaiting the next attack of the town’s “visitor”, this flick sends one’s heart in a roller coaster as the heartbeats thump to the sound of the background. The suspense builds up in every succeeding frame of the first half of the story, keeping the audience constantly interested and curious about the mysterious surprise upon which the film revolves around. However, sad to say, the second half does not exactly live up to the excitement of the first half as the movie trails to a typical dramatic ending.
The Spielberg sci-fi may not offer a plot that is as grand as what a rather buttoned up film should be – in fact, it is quite familiar – but it certainly makes up for that with its superb cinematography. Larry Fong did a fantastic job of bringing out the intensity of each scene through the seamless integration of the various elements with one another. The special effects team, on the other hand, is also praiseworthy for its graceful execution of a horror fantasy although it cannot be denied that the story itself presents a lot of loopholes.
What is particularly interesting about this film actually is its use of an almost all-kid cast. The team is not heavy on fame – we’re not talking current superstars to play the roles – but it is a strong cast nevertheless because the film uses them to showcase kid power where it highlights the probability of encountering some things that only kids can comprehend and of things that only children can resolve because they dwell well on the unknown and on the products of head trips. This unconventional casting brings out the best of the story. Here, we see kids being given the main role of tackling real-life (or even bigger than life) issues, and through the film, this shows that while adults may be attacking these conflicts with logic, children have the ability to attack them in an unlikely manner yet are equally, if not more, effective.
Casting young actors to accentuate the atypical problem-solving capabilities of a child filled with an adventurous personality is one thing, but casting young actors who can give a beautiful portrayal of their respective roles is nothing but bingo. And Super 8 hit it right with Joel Courteney (Joe Lamb), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Riley Griffiths (Charles), Ryan Lee (Cary), Gabriel Basso (Martin), and Zach Mills (Preston).
Each of these six kids definitely gave justice to the character profiles assigned to them. It was as if the characters were tailor fitted for them. Furthermore, they managed to make the film even more enjoyable by entertaining us with both their humor and their heartwarming performances. They can make you laugh in the middle of tension and make you feel sad in the most unexpected times. Their emotions, perfectly captured by the camera, are some of the most genuine I’ve witnessed on screen. It’s brilliant, so two thumbs up for that!
While the trailer brings a mysteriously heavy and dark impression of the film, the story slowly unfolds to remove its mask to reveal its fun, adventurous side once the film reel begins to roll. And though it does not possess the most original storyline nor the most memorable moments to take home with, Super 8 is still deserving of a summer theater visit for what its action, talent, and cinematography are worth.
So, I guess you want to know my answer to my own question up in the title. ‘Super 8’ is hiding a secret, and now that I know what it is, was it worth it? I’d probably say yes.