Go Away JJ Abrams
June 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Super 8 wants so badly to be a pulp sci-fi comic experience. JJ Abrams‘ approach was to chuck The Goonies, Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, and E.T. in a blender. Instead of a delightful amalgam of callbacks to your childhood, Super 8 manages to suck only the putrid essence from those dated story arcs. At no point does the audience care for what happens to the cast of children. Any sense of emotional involvement stops at a mutual respect for youths who also are fascinated with zombies. Maybe that’s enough for you.
But, they are fantastic child actors, for once. Abrams and Spielberg managed to avoid the abortive affect of casting little Anakin’s. Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning (yep, younger sister to Dakota Fanning), Riley Griffiths, Gabriel Basso, Ryan Lee and Zach Mills all do fantastic work on the screen. Again, maybe that’s enough for you.
Instead, the film’s nothing but a bunch of Goonies references interspliced with C-3PO humor – like circa the Star Wars prequels. Lots of bad puns and stale jokes, like where a teenager is stoned and asleep in the car as shit’s exploding everywhere and the fat kid shouts “drugs are bad” as he runs away. Guffaw, truly. I must say. Personally, those ribbings all immediately catalogued themselves alongside C-3PO making references to “losing my head” while decapitated. Perhaps Abrams ought to have invested more in a team of writers than whoever he’s paying to put lens flares in every scene. Who are we kidding though, those bad puns are intentional, as if what the movie-goer misses most about Saturday morning pulp cartoons was the joke writing.
Oh, and there’s an alien. An alien you also won’t give two fucks about. Since you’ve probably seen Cloverfield, you probably immediately give up on the hook Abrams attempts by not letting you see the monster for the first 3/4 of the movie. Been there, done that. Who cares what it looks like?
The government also made the alien pissed. So the alien get’s vengeance. You know how in movies the audience usually feels some sort of relief/satisfaction when long-percolated vengeance get’s realized? You don’t feel that. Instead, Noah Emmerich get’s squished and it feels like I just saw this somewhere before…
This movie has nothing new to bring to the table. It couches stale call-backs and a pulp-reboot as a new sci-fi masterpiece. And, like every Abrams film, character development suffers, the story is underdeveloped, the writing isn’t terribly intelligent, and the movie resolves itself in a Shyamalan-esque fashion. In fact, that’s who Abrams most resembles. A formulaic producer/writer like M. Night Shyamalan. Hopefully, they can go hang out in cinematic obscurity forever. I hear Shyamalan’s making the sequel the The Last Airbender, maybe it’d perform better at the box office with lens flares and less character development.
The worst part is that people fucking love Super 8 and all things JJ Abrams touches. I guess I’m the one who has to go away.