Super 8 (2011)
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler
In 1979, a group of kids witness and train wreck and find themselves in the middle of something much bigger than they expected. As unexplained things begin to happen in their small town the military swoops in and begins to take action. Now these kids are dodging the military while they try to solve the mysteries surrounding the wreck.
Super 8 was released in 2011 with a secretive marketing campaign that left much of the plot shrouded in mystery. This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with J.J. Abrams and his previous works. He’s been involved with shows like Lost and films like Cloverfield which were similarly marketed. This time he took on a film with the backing of Steven Spielberg. The stars include Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), AJ Michalka (The Lovely Bones), and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). The actors might not be huge names, but they’re all great actors with recognizable work to their credit.
This is a really interesting movie, more than most science-fiction I’ve come across lately. I’ll give a lot of the credit to J.J. Abrams who also wrote this film. The story feels like a tribute to E.T. at times. Despite not taking the same direction as E.T. the story does share some of the charms that make this a family film.
The casting in this movie was really nicely done. The kids they chose to play the main roles are all unique and do a great job with their parts. Thankfully, the film was set in 1979, so the movie doesn’t beat you up with product placement or dated pop culture references.
This movie is a visual spectacular from beginning to end. I guess that when Abrams and Spielberg put both their names on a project it’s bound to happen. The action in the movie is really awesome to see, and the other special effects work nicely and don’t feel overdone.
Faults, the movie does have a few. Like most of Abrams work, this movie leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I don’t know how the holes might have been filled, but they needed to do a bit more to complete the story. The movie also tries too hard to be secretive about the central enemy in the plot. A little secrecy is good, but if you’re going to hide the danger in the film you have to have a much better conclusion to make sure all the waiting pays off.
This is a good movie, but not a great movie. I watched it twice in a row, just to make sure I caught every detail. This movie has a lot to offer and it’s a good one for the whole family since it doesn’t take anything too far into the scary side of science-fiction. I give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.