Sunday, June 12, 2011

Super 8 and My Childhood

I finally placed my finger on why I feel so coupled with Super 8 and it’s not because I followed the viral marketing (because I didn’t) but because of what it brought back. Cloverfield will always be an unforgettable experience because of how exciting it was to follow all the viral marketing campaigns but all I had to go on with Super 8 was the trailer and immediately I thought of Close Encounters. I saw Close Encounters when I was young, about 8 or 9 years old, and as I watched the trailer all I could feel was this overwhelming sense of nostalgia. For about 3 minutes I felt like a kid watching the trailer for an action-packed summer movie; sort of how I felt when I first saw Jurassic Park and when I saw the trailers for Jurassic Park II. I brought back memories of being truly exciting for a film that will make me escape my life and temporarily put into an ideal adventure movie. Not since Raiders of the Lost Ark did I feel like I wanted to participate in the film. But, oddly, that isn’t the exact reason but one major reason why I feel so close to this film. Instead, the reason lies within the subplot of the film.

The subplot of the film is about a group of kids that want to make a zombie movie (titled The Case) using a Super 8 camera so that they could enter it into a contest. Aside from a monster attacking their town, a bunch of things go wrong: fuzzy footage, broken cameras, unwilling cast and crew, prolonged film development and of course lots of last-minute script changes. Not only do the kids, specifically Charles and Cary, remind me of people that I grew up with but it reminded me of my friends and how we use to take my dad’s camcorder and record random movies. I saw myself in all the kids and I could relate to their burning passion to do what ever it takes to get the movie done. On my own time, I would take my dad’s camcorder and record Blair Witch style home videos and edit them in camera. I would create wild stories using my Legos and action figures as characters and I would synch up end credits music to each scene and record it in real-time. I would use my grandparents and whoever else was around at the time to play the characters in my films and even shamelessly recorded the scene in Independence Day where the White House blew up to use in my movie.

The film provoked the inner young filmmaker in me and I think that’s why I really love this film. It brought me back to those days where my friends were loyal, where our crushes ran rampant and where we wanted to all be filmmakers. I even remember talking to one of my friends, when I was 9, and told him that he will be my editor when I begin directing movies. Super 8 brought out the inner child in me and I couldn’t be happier. As nostalgic as it was, I miss those days of innocents and big, ignorant aspirations. As a side note, if you want a great review of this film, check out The Cinemassacre.


Pax Romano said...

JS, you nailed it brother. I am a bit older than you (ahem), but my friends and I made a couple of Super 8 movies back in the 70's (we filmed the sequel to Jaws in the swimming pool in my back yard back in 1975. Used a baby doll's arms for body parts after a shark attack, and red food dye for blood - which does not last long in chlorinated water). By 1979 I was already 21 years old - that said, this movie really captures the feel of that time and place. The childhood aspect is timeless. These kids could have been coming up in the 50's 60's 70's or 80's.

All in all a terrific film, the monster was just the icing on the cake for me.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

It would have been really nice to work with Super 8 film. It's an aspect of filmmaking that I would like to explore. As for the Jaws sequel, I must see this film if you still have it. :)

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