Go

Filmism.net Dispatch June 13, 2011

  • Share
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

It's French artist Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau with which we equate the words 'astonish me!', supposedly a challenge from a Russian ballet director to write something nobody had ever seen before.

It's something we frequently wish Hollywood would take to heart, not just in genres or plots but characterisations, dialogue and myriad other facets of the craft. Half the time I don't think filmmakers themselves realise the extent to which they're wheeling out hoary old tropes we can see a mile away.

But Super 8, the best film of the year so far, has me in a quandary. For everything JJ Abrams gets pitch perfect in his homage to the Spielbergian era, the one glaring absence from the film is originality. It does what many films do (updating predecessors using better technique than those predecessors had in their day) but in this case the difference it that it does so beautifully.

So even though I couldn't help loving the film so much I can't help asking myself whether a good rip off is any worse than a bad rip off. Every time the lights go down or the DVD fires up I hope there'll be something I've never seen before, and despite the perfection of every other aspect, Super 8 didn't do that.

But what right do I have to complain about Thor or Knight and Day because I've seen those stories both a million times? I've also seen ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Cloverfield, Stand By Me and The Goonies, all of which Super 8 is a very successful amalgam of?

I worked myself into a philosophical corner thinking about it, so instead of continuing a fruitless search for an existential truth I just watched How Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Should have Ended.

© 2011-2018 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au