This film is what ‘Cloverfield’ should have been. Writer/Director J.J. Abrams teamed with Producer Steven Spielberg to bring ‘Super 8′ to the screen and it is an unqualified success. Now the studios might disagree with me, depending on how it performs in the box office, but to me it’s great that this movie even exists. Due to the veil of secrecy surrounding this, as with most Abrams’ productions, I did not know what to expect. What I ended up getting was a beautifully written love letter to the kid’s adventure and sci-fi movies of the 80s. Considering that Spielberg is responsible for some of the greatest, ‘E.T.’ and the like, it makes perfect sense in retrospect.
‘Super 8’ delivers an experience reminiscent of films like: ‘Explorers’, ‘Goonies’, ‘Monster Squad’, and ‘E.T.’ to name a few of the best. Movies that were character driven pieces first and grand spectacles second. One brilliant aspects of such films is that because they are based around kids the audience can be much more forgiving of unbelievable aspects of the film. Also the emotional journey of their age group is something that all of us can relate to, as opposed to our more divisive late teenage and early adult years.
This film tells the story of a group of small town kids in 1979 that are trying to film a zombie movie. Along the way they see a horrible train wreck that changes everything in their lives, and the lives of the people in their town. The kids are all excellent in this film and turn in performances that steal the show from most of the adults. In addition to that, the plot is tightly written and filmed, none of the movie lags. Every moment contributes to the narrative and keeps the audience eager to see what will come next.
Abrams and Spielberg were a great influence on each other, considering that some of their more recent films have been less than their best. Now I have to admit that Abrams’ work on ‘Star Trek’ delivered a film that stands among my favorites of all time, but ‘Cloverfield’ was just terrible. ‘Super 8’ is a lot closer to ‘Cloverfield’ in concept, so I was naturally apprehensive. Unlike the soulless urbanites infesting ‘Cloverfield’, this movie gives us characters who are both interesting and pleasant to watch.The vast gulf between the films makes me wonder if maybe Abrams intended his faux Godzilla flick as a satire that was too subtle for most of us to get. Either way, ‘Super 8’ delivers everything that film should have done, but failed to do.
If you enjoy characters with heart, interesting stories, and want to feel like a kid again then go see this film. I completely recommend it, and I endorse the fact that this movie is not a sequel or in 3D. Please check it out, you will not regret it.