I watched Super 8 last night at the movie theater. Rarely do I get a chance to see a movie when it is released on its opening weekend, but I had this strange feeling that I was going to be innundated with information about this movie constantly until I finally saw it, so I decided to just go see it for myself and then see if all of the hype lives up to its, well, hype, or if it turns out to be not worth the effort.
First off, the movie wasn’t bad. It was a typical Stephen Spielberg type of movie, if he had made it twenty years ago. Basically, it felt very much like an attempt to blend Stand by Me with E.T. and then with District 9. The only problem was that it didn’t have the writing of a Stand by Me (sorry, but the Stephen King power of Stand by Me will never be achieved by someone emulating him), the cutesyness of E.T. or the raw power of District 9. Instead, it was one of those movies where you watched it and thought, “yeah, they did what they were supposed to do.”
As for the Stephen King attempt, one thing that the movie was lacking was characterization. The two kids who did well in the movie were Ellile Fanning and Joel Courtney (who play the main two kids). The rest of the cast really just kind of blended together in a mass that didn’t really make much of a difference. As a matter of fact, I found myself thinking, who was this again? whenever one of the other kids was on screen, even though they were distinctive enough that that should never have happened. The adults in the movie were irrelevant, even though they were also really important. Even the alien seemed, well, very alien and cloaked way too much in shadow. I don’t think I ever really got a good glimpse of it, and when I did, all I kept thinking was, um, okay, that’s an alien. Where’s my popcorn again?
But having said all of that, it wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t great. It’s receiving all sorts of accolades for being the “in” movie, and I can see how that would happen as it is a combination of JJ Abrams and Stephen Spielberg. There were just too many times where I felt it was a scarier version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But I’m glad I saw it on the opening weekend. That way, I won’t have anyone telling me I NEED to see this movie without me being able to laugh hysterically in his face as a response. Again, not a bad movie, but not the greatest either.