Rollicking alien romp takes us back in time “Monstrous creature” SUPER 8 (12A)
Is alien movie Super 8 monstrous or magical? Find out with our review.
TO THOSE in their early 30s, the guy who played Doogie Howser MD, the brilliant teenage doctor and star of the 1989 TV show of the same name, was a childhood hero. But if you’re not of that demographic, you could be forgiven for saying: “Who’s Neil Patrick Harris?” In answer: He’s an actor who’s been ploughing away on stage and screen for two decades, notching up numerous awards and has recently been given his own Hollywood Boulevard star. His latest project is The Smurfs 3D, a liveaction animated comedy that brings the tiny blue stars of Belgian artist Peyo’s 1958 comic book to the big screen. In the movie, the Smurfs are chased out of their mushroom village by evil wizard Gargamel (played with hammy relish by Hank Azaria) through a magical portal, where they land in the middle of New York. Neil Patrick Harris plays Patrick Winslow, a young marketing executive who’s about to become a parent with wife Grace (Jayma Mays from Glee). And Harris believes the reason for their mass appeal is the simplicity behind the idea. “I think anyone can relate to at least one of them and the stories are simple and fun,” he says. The Smurfs 3D is released in cinemas on Wednesday, August 10
IN THE summer of 1982 an earthbound alien phoned home and audiences wept with joy, cementing Steven Spielberg’s reputation as the greatest film-maker of his generation. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was a cultural phenomenon that spoke to our inner child, envisioning the cruel world through the eyes of Elliott as he risked everything to protect his otherworldly friend from scientists and shadowy government agents. Almost 30 years later, director JJ Abrams pays homage to Spielberg’s fantasy with Super 8, a rollicking adventure with echoes of The Goonies that depicts the rampage of an alien creature in rural 1970s America from the perspective of six children whose worlds have just been rocked by Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the sleepy industrial town of Lillian, Ohio, teenager Joe Lamb (Courtney) is struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother and the strain on his father Deputy Sheriff Jackson Lamb (Chandler). The youngster invests him time in making a low-budget zombie film with his friends. Director Charles (Griffiths) bosses everyone around while special effects expert Cary (Lee) provides the fake gore. Dim-witted leading man (Basso) tries to remember his lines to the chagrin of longsuffering sound-man Preston (Mills). To increase the film’s chances of winning first prize in a nationwide competition, Charles persuades classmate Alice (Fanning) to sign up as lead actress and the children head down to the local rail station to shoot a night-time sequence. Just as the camera starts rolling, the youngsters witness a truck driving on to the tracks and derailing
Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Kyle
PLOT: Joe Lamb
to (Courtney), struggling come to terms with
the death of his mother, starts shooting a low-budget zombie film. But during shooting, a monstrous creature crawls free from a train wreck. FAMILY WATCH: Swearing, No sex, Violence. an oncoming freight train. As they make a hasty escape, the trespassing teens are oblivious to the
SHOOTING: A scene from the highlyentertaining Super 8. APPREHENSIVE: From left, Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Ron Eldard.
ANIMATED: Neil Patrick Harris in The Smurfs 3D.