Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka and Kyle Chandler
Reminiscent of early Spielberg films (E.T, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park etc.), Super 8 is a homage to blockbusters that have as many heartfelt moments as it does explosions. With the creative capabilities of today’s special effects, and a return to narratives that are as innocent as the young heroes we’ve seen in E.T, the blend of old and new in J.J. Abram’s Super 8 is something we haven’t seen in blockbusters for a long time.
Based off Abrams’ personal experiences in making amateur films as a kid, Super 8 centers around twelve year old Joe Lamb (Courtney) – a motherless boy who focuses all his energy and attention in helping his friend Charles complete a zombie flick over the summer. Charles and his crew of young filmmakers sneak out one night to film a scene at a train station. When a train approaches, the crew think its an opportunity to increase production value, only to witness the train derail in one flying mess of steel, fire, and loud noises. What the train was carrying, however, escapes and wreaks havoc on Joe’s neighborhood, rustling in bushes and swiping people when they least expect it.
While the nostalgia of the good old days and the early Spielberg-esque pace and narrative set up an exciting and original premise, Super 8 develops its family tragedy story alongside a monster story that don’t mesh as well as we would like. With conflicts that work out too conveniently, and reveals that feel a little disappointing in comparison to the mystery set up in the first act, Super 8 falls short of being a trip down memory lane that is as masterful as its own masters. Nevertheless, Super 8 does set itself apart from the blockbusters that flood our silver screens by captures adolescence and innocence with a monster to boot.