Last night, my friend and I went to the Drafthouse to see Super 8.
(Quick aside – I am absolutely loving the publicity that the Alamo Drafthouse has been receiving for the woman who was kicked out for texting. It’s my favorite theater and even though the food is a tad pricey, it’s an amazing place).
I had been a little hesitant to see this movie. The trailer didn’t look all that exciting. One of my friends will burst into a rant if you even mention this movie, because supposedly it’s taking J.J. Abram’s attention away from writing the script for the sequel to Star Trek. “It’s just a War of the Worlds ripoff,” he griped. But I heard it was good, and I liked all the secrecy surrounding it. In an age where anything is leaked to the internet months in advance, I respected the effort it took to make this a complete surprise.
I really enjoyed it. I read the reviews fully afterward (I don’t like reading reviews beforehand, because I don’t want them to bias the way I feel about a film, and too many reviews inadvertently reveal spoilers) and could agree that this film is not as fluffy and light as most summer blockbusters are supposed to be. When you think of a typical summer film, you think of Michael Bay-type explosions, cliche, one-note characters, and a storyline barely capable of standing on its own (I’m looking at you, Fast Five.)
While this movie did have action sequences, it was a fully developed film. The ensemble cast of teens were probably the best I’ve seen in a long time – they were all talented and really funny. The film was humorous (which is what sets it apart from the dreary War of the Worlds), it was sad (I teared up once or twice, but mainly because I’m a sucker like that), and had moments where I genuinely jumped in my seat. I didn’t get bored at all and even though I was very tired, I didn’t even want to fall asleep (I’m looking at you, Fast Five). And the film is interspersed with such beautiful moments of adolescence – the feeling of a crush, being with your friends and not having any responsibilities – that I think it’s impossible to watch without feeling some nostalgia for your own adolescence, as painful as it might have been.
I’m generally not a fan of sci-fi or alien flicks, but this one was worth seeing. It probably won’t get the same box office as its competitors, which is a shame, because it has a lot more substance.