JJ Abrams and Stephen Spielberg’s Super 8 is a breathtakingly welcome step away from modern cinema’s diet of remakes and franchises.
Set in 1970‘s small town America, the story revolves around a group of high school friends who are making a film to enter into a competition.
Filming at night at a railway station, they narrowly escape being killed by a major derailment which spills a top secret cargo across the countryside.
What starts as a fun hobby, ends with the friends embroiled in a military cover-up which could destroy them and their town.
Like all the best films, this one works best when the story is allowed to unfold without vast amounts of prior knowledge on the part of the audience, so that’s all the plot details you’re going to get!
Instead of spoilering (no, that’s not a typo) the film for you, we’ll tell you why even we habitual cynics loved it.
Too often modern films seem to be more about stroking the ego – and pushing the ‘brand’ – of actors and directors.
In contrast Super 8 is about telling a story.
Better still, that story is magnificently told, despite a number of plot points being very familiar.
We’ve always believed the ability to turn a fairly routine plot into an enjoyable movie to be the measure of a great storyteller. No surprise then that the presence of two of cinema’s best storytellers has resulted in an outstanding film.
Is Abrams and Spielberg’s decision to set filmmaking at the very centre of the story just a tad semi-autobiographical? It certainly lends the film a sense of creative love and poignancy.
Quite deliberately the film evokes the merest hints of three of the greatest films of all time – Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET and The Goonies.
Like Super 8, each told broadly uncomplicated plots peppered with human emotions and beautiful moments. Their impact has never waned because of the genius of the filmmakers.
Like those movies, Super 8 is destined to become one of the truly standout film of its time. The awards it wins will be truly deserved.
And now we return to our usual cynicism – a year or so from now cinema will depressingly be full of films desperately trying to look and feel like Super 8. In the world of modern cinema, where originality is a plunge into an unknown box office performance, it’s an inevitability.
Before everything that’s great about it is tarnished by a hundred cash-ins and wannabes, take yourself to the cinema this weekend and bask in the delights Super 8 has in store for you.