Director JJ Abram's fantasy-adventure Super 8 is an original story and a high-profile movie in 2-D. This popcorn entertainment is all about the riveting, coming-of-age, sci-fi, adventure, buddy, young love, conspiracy. Its special effects are state-of-the-art, but are not used gratuitously.
Abrams' script operates according to a predictable rhythm. The movie cobbles together dozens of movie references but not enough of the emotionalism. The director brings an element of biography to Super 8 by exploding onto the scene in the late '70s and early '80s.
Super 8 is set in 1979 and has been shot full of this kind of pop-cult arcana. This also allows for a dose of well-earned nostalgia when it comes to music, clothing, attitudes and technology. The movie contains several of the ideas that populate of Spielberg"s family orientated films. But it is a little faster, sharper, and edgier than Spielberg's movies.
Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is a 14-year-old boy, who has lost his mother in an industrial accident at the steel mill. Joe's father (Kyle Chandler) tries to pack him off to camp for the summer, but Joe refuses to go. He wants to help his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) finish their film project Super 8, a zombie movie they plan to enter in a local contest. Joe, Charles and three of their friends are filming a scene at an empty train station one night when they witness a spectacular and inexplicable train derailment. Over the next few days, weird things begin to happen in Lillian: All the town's dogs flee in packs, and microwaves and car engines disappear overnight. Soon, armed military police swarm the town, shutting down the deputy sheriff's inquiries with menacing non sequiturs.
The debutant actors bring believability without baggage to the film. The one with the most experience is Elle Fanning and Super 8 will enhance her reputation. Joel Courtney shows more poise than one might reasonably expect. Ryan Leehas delivered a notable performance and his off-kilter portrayal provides comedic relief.
The title of Super 8 refers to an extinct film format that Spielberg used as a kid. The movie can be good entertainer for kids and their parents.
Producer: Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk
Director: JJ Abram
Cast: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler,
Music: Michael Giacchino
Cinematographer: Larry Fong