I never had a camcorder growing up. I was bestowed my grandfather’s Eastman Kodak standard 8 mm camera. I wasn’t even lucky enough to have a Super 8 camera which made getting film a chore. Still I had grand schemes for that camera. Epic cinema masterpieces that never really were filmed or the end results that were less than spectacular.
Writer / director J. J. Abrams has tried to tap into a rare technique that seems to be used less and less these days. He has told a story that has plot and character development. I know, shocking. Yes there are effects but they don’t fill the screen the entire length of the film. The less you know about the film the better the viewing experience I believe it will be so I’m not got reveal much. The movie focuses on a group of kids who are trying to make a short film for an upcoming film festival and they are using a Super 8 camera. They witness a train wreck that starts a chain of events that I won’t reveal because it’s too much fun to just watch them unfold.
The movie is produced by Stephen Spielberg and Abrams does his best Spielberg impression here. In one scene a family is getting ready to eat and two kids are smashing stuff on the table while parents scrabble around trying to get things ready that seems to be lifted right from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But the homages aren’t too distracting.
This is an extremely enjoyable film. It’s thrilling and fun to watch the mystery unfold. And it makes me want to dust off my old 8 mm camera (screw all this digital crap) and finish shooting that epic masterpiece.