Rol­lick­ing alien romp takes us back in time “Mon­strous crea­ture” SU­PER 8 (12A)

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - LET’S PARTY - By Da­mon Smith

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.

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