Monday, 19 August 2013
JJ Abrams and Super 8
I sat down to watch JJ Abrams' Super 8 last night.
It wreaked of Spielberg, of course, Abrams is a huge fan of his. So am I for that matter. That unmistakable underlying theme of Spielberg's success that runs through all of his work, Love, is right there on display. Right down to the ludicrous scene involving the alien creature and the young hero.
Abrams inspires me. He casts well and allows a simple premise to just expand and thrill the viewer in a way that seems to fit the story.
The pemise of Lost I loved even if I ultimately found it to be a little too stretched. His Fringe show was for me the finest thing on TV in the last 10 years. Wonderfully cast and especially in the first series a joy to watch. Essentially a revamping of the X Files with the injection of the beautifully portrayed Walter Bishop. John Noble deserves far more praise and recognition for this in my opinion.
Cloverfield, which preceded Super 8 but is essentially a similar story without the Spielberg influence, was a fantastic romp through multiple locations set against the backdrop of a monster terrorising the city. New York City to be precise. Famous landmarks collapse, military intervention to the max, monster howling and the all-important brief glimpse of something huge and terrifying laying waste to a familiar setting.
Abrams does this so well for me. In Cloverfield he hinted at the monster for the larger portion of the film. It worked well. The first proper sight of it coming from a TV screen as aerial news footage showed a huge tail swishing around with a ludicrously monstrous body attached to it.
The army had lost control and the thing was running riot. We wanted a close up of the monster but he kept it from us. Even in the final scenes we didn't get too much.
Super 8 was similar but not identical. In some respects I feel we shouldn't have seen the monster in such detail. In other respects I think the story needed it. Like most contemporary monster romps for the most part it was shrouded in shadow. Not only to this lend itself to the sinister tone of the story but it also helps the CGI guys in a big way. Either way it was effective.
What I really loved about the film was its nod to greats like Stand by me and E.T. That coming of age thing in the former beautifully captured by the young film makers. That same time period from E.T. and sense of family chaos around the dining table again faithfully honoured. A really warm film in every respect. Perhaps too warm. Thoroughly watchable, though.
I'm excited to see what the director does with Star Wars.