Super 8 (6/10)

Super 8

It Arrives.


In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

Title Super 8
Director J.J. Abrams
Director of Photography Larry Fong
Runtime 1 h 52 min
Certification PG-13
Release Date 8 June 2011
Tagline It Arrives.
IMDb Id tt1650062

It is 1979, and in small town America a group of young adolescents spend their summer making a Super 8 short film to submit for a competition. As they shoot a scene in their zombie film at the local train station, they witness a real train crash, and discover a large number of curious metallic objects in the wreckage. Amidst the chaos they are warned by an injured high school teacher at the scene that all is not what it seems, and to keep silent about the crash. Bewildered, they return to their homes as a large military contingent begins to clean up the crash site. However the warning appears justified as strange things begin to happen in the town and curious events unfold.

Super 8 is J.J. Abrams tribute to Spielberg, the style of the film borrowing heavily from ET and The Goonies. The interaction amongst the kids feels real, and Elle Fanning in particular is terrific as the troubled daughter and love interest of the main teenage protagonist, Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney). The beginning of the film has a definite Spielberg feel to it, with the believable if slightly stereotypical kids and an eye for detail regarding the town. However at this point things start to unravel.

Rather than continuing the small-town coming of age theme, the movie’s third act transforms into a big budget action/adventure sequence as the military take drastic steps to deal with the escape of what was on the train. Rather than “Stand By Me”, the movie transforms into a dodgy version of “Cloverfield”, with much running around and explosions. The plot starts to develop large holes, including a literal one. This is a great shame, as the opening of the film is genuinely charming and for a moment reminds us of why we loved Spielberg’s film creations. The showing alongside the credits of the finished version of the kids Super 8 film hints at what might have been had it remained consistent to its opening.


Super 8 (6/10)
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