SUMMER: A LOOK AHEAD.
By: Michael DeGregorio.
Hello fellow film fans and fanatics. This isn’t a review but rather a look ahead to the packed crop of geek friendly films coming in the next few Months.
A PRE-view if you will. See what I did there? Clever, no? What’s that? No, it isn’t clever? Get on with it? Okay, fine. No need to be rude.
This will actually be an on-going series that I’ll update as time and information permits. There are some films like Rise of the Apes and Conan that there is actually very little information even known about yet, and other films like Transformers:Dark of the Moon that I need you to tell me if you even care enough about to bother talking up.
This first column will be short and sweet and feature the film that as of this writing, I am the most excited for.
JJ Abrams new film, SUPER 8. A film that is being executive produced by the master himself, Steven Spielberg.
But Spielberg also produces the Transformers films, I can hear you thinking, and look how they turned out.
While it is true that his name is on the credits as an executive producer, the bearded one is really only there in a Godfather sense. He shepherded the original film from development to production and made the call to Michael Bay and asked him to direct, but his direct involvement on a daily level pretty much stopped after the first film.
On SUPER 8, according to sources, he was heavily involved from day one and even though he wasn’t on set very much, the story and setting and tone of the film owes its very lifeblood to Steven Spielberg.
This film has been called JJ Abrams love letter to the Spielberg films of the late 70’s and early 80’s. That period of time when it seemed the man could do no wrong. Even his rare misstep in that era was a noble failure that still amazes when put side by side with some of the trash of the last 20 years. (1941, I’m looking at you) His triumphs in that era are legendary. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
Jaws. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Raiders of the Lost Ark. E.T. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
That is not a complete list and already the geek genes in most of us are reaching out to their maker.
This film is a love letter to THAT Steven Spielberg. Made by one of the most exciting filmmakers and writers of this generation. The man who created Lost, Fringe, Alias, and breathed life back into the dead franchise of Star Trek is now going to write a cinematic love letter to his hero with the help OF his hero.
20 minutes of the film screened last night at CinemaCon and the word coming out of it is glowing. The word is that he has nailed the tone. The feel and most importantly, the emotional core of the early Spielberg work.
The kids at the center of the film are naturalistic and free of the tics and mugging that is like a disease eating away at most of the ‘actors’ in Disney shows and the Nick shows like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place.
They say he is getting the details of the late 70’s Mid-West setting right. The feel of the world and the tone.
It’s being sold as a coming of age films meets a monster film. Most films nail one of these aspects but not the other. They either have a GREAT monster and cardboard characters or brilliant characters and a laughable monster.
Early word is that SUPER 8 has both. The action is tense and real and the characters are human and relatable.
If it seems like I’m avoiding talking about the actual story, it’s because very little is known about the plot aside from its late 1970’s setting, the fact that it involves an alien and that a group of young kids out filming their own zombie flick with the titular super 8 camera witness the crash of a train carrying the alien from Area 51 to an undisclosed location and film it.
The word from those who have seen it is that it really is a brilliant cross of Close Encounters and E.T. which for those of us who remember when those films were new…well that is truly exciting.
Of course, there could be 3rd act problems. The story could fall apart or collapse under its own weight, but right now I have high hopes.
SUPER 8 also has something else going for it. It’s not based on an existing property. It’s not a comic book or a sequel or a remake.
It’s completely original.
Of course this is also working against the film as well, in that no one knows what it is yet.
The marketing should kick in any day now and you won’t be able to escape it.
Just remember though. I told you about it in late March.
Unless it sucks. Then we’ll forget this conversation ever happened.
Until next time,
Keep the projector threaded.