a review by Darby O’Gill
When writer/director J.J. Abrams teams-up with Steven Spielberg to bring back that old school, early 1980’s feel of a summer movie to a whole new generation, what you get is Super 8. It’s a retro look at the cinema of most of our youths, with a hint of modern day monster thrills thrown in for good measure. It’s like The Goonies and The Monster Squad meet The Thing. There are also some elements of Red Dawn in there, and I think it all works pretty well overall. Super 8 is loosely based on the supposed transfer of the alleged items found at the Roswell UFO crash site in New Mexico, to a military air base in Columbus, Ohio. Fun little side fact, I used to live down the road from that alleged air base in college. Pretty cool, huh?! Okay I’m getting off topic. In the movie the train is derailed during the transport, and a group of kids who’ve snuck-out to make a homemade zombie movie with their Super 8 camera witness the whole thing. The train wreck is amazing, a little over the top, but that happens a lot in this film. A lot of moments are played in this very real, nice and quiet manor, and then there are these other moments where everything is just so over the top you can’t help but notice the two contrasting each other. One of these moments is when the town is just all of a sudden full of tanks, and they all just start firing causing mass hysteria and World War III to breakout in this small suburban town. It looks amazing, and it’s really well shot from a filmmaking standpoint, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t fit with the retro style. But, that’s not to say the mixing of the monster movie and the boy and his alien genre doesn’t work. I think Abrams manages to knock that out the park. The look and feel of Super 8 is fantastic! It drags in a few places, but overall I think it works. I was kind of hoping the kids would stick together a little more. The middle of the movie kind of focuses a little too much on just Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning), the other kids are kind of M.I.A. and I wish there was a little more interaction between the group on a whole. With all these minor things aside, I think Super 8 is a great old school summer matinee movie! I sadly don’t see it becoming a timeless classic like its predecessors; but time will tell.