First off, I would like to say that do not judge an actor by his personal life, yet only his talents and boy does Mel Gibson have it here in this truely heartwarming film of his directed by, surprisingly, Steve Miner who has made the horrendous friday the 13th films. However, Miner did not have the talent and writing of Jeffrey Abrams. If you're thinking who you think it is, that's right it was written by J.J. Abrams. I was surprised myself and at first I thought it was a different person but the way the story is structured told me it was definitely him.
The story revolves a test pilot by the name of Daniel McCormick (played by Gibson) who has everything in life, but he yet cannot achieve one thing: asking his girlfriend, Helen, to marry him. Everything in life is moving on fairly and they both want to get on the altar but tragedy strikes when Helen is struck by a car and goes into a coma. Daniel's best friend Harry, a scientist who has just completed a secret project involving cryogenics gets involved. Harry's test on a chicken worked so why not.....a man? Daniel, who cannot take the pain of seeing his love suffer tells Harry to freeze him for a year. Strange, but still needed to move the story. Fifty years later, two young boys by the names of Nat and Felix awake him. There, Daniel goes on a quest to find Harry, thinking that Helen is dead. Through his strong bonds with Nat, Daniel becomes a stronger, mature man and they go together on the adventure of a lifetime that will involve the government itself.
As I had mentioned before, Gibson does an amazing job here and I'm surprised he was never nominated for any award in this film. He really brings out the character here and how he changes from a troubled man to a more mature man is outstanding. A young Elijah Wood (yes, Frodo from Lord of the rings trilogy) plays Nat here and he does such an amazing job as well. In my opinion, the younger Elijah Wood is a far better actor then the one he is today. Here he delves into the character of Nat and makes sure nothing holds him back from showing us who this boy really is. There is a lovely scene where Gibson and Wood are in the boy's treehouse, using their imaginations, making it seem like an airplane. In the scene, Daniel is teaching Nat how to fly and the way they have fun in a treehouse is amazing. Jamie Lee Curtis also does a great job in this film as Nat's mother, Claire who is also shown to be a loving mother, but also one of those women who like to have their bad share sometime in their life. The cast is well put and they have so much chemistry that you forget that they are actors and that this can be all real.
I won't give too much away here, the film is truly fantastic and one of those feel good films that really reach out to you. The story is structured well from beginning to end and after watching the film, I felt a "Super-8" feel about it. There is romance from beginning to end, there is the character who is seeking a return home, there are the dangers. I am pretty sure many many people have not seen this film and therefore I am surprised not many have compared this film to Super 8. Both are very similar, minus the alien. Abrams does a wonderful job in establishing who each character is and their purpose in the story. Each characters purpose, unlike many other films, is strong. Without one, the story could not be complete.
The score was made by Jerry Goldsmith, ah the early 90s, his prime years where Goldsmith really caught our attention at the cinemas. Here he knows how to contrast emotions into the characters, but not only the characters but the time and settings the film takes place in. It is as if he is on a roller coaster pattern as well because he manages to fade each piece of the score up and down and we don't even realize it till the scene is finished.
This is undoubtedly Steve Miner's best film. Over the few decades he has made many films, and this is the one that stands out the most. Here we have everything, but this is more Abrams film. He has everything cooked that there are seconds to go around. He makes us wanting to stay and see more and more of each character. The scenes where Daniel gets readjusted to society are my favorite scenes. If I were in his shoes, I would do the same thing. The scenes that affected me the most were when he would go to places which his time period, the late 30s, still had.
Overall, this film is amazing and I cannot believe many have not seen this yet. Go see it. I saw it on Netflix, you can see it there too. You won't be let down.
This has been a review by daveactor7 =)