You can’t help but feel a little nostalgic after this one.
Set in 1979, the Super 8 centers on a massive train wreck that is filmed by a young group of friends. They’re making a home movie and capture and event on their film. Mysterious things start to happen after the crash. The military takes control of the town and the once small town is turned upside down.
Fans of Director J.J. Abrams are treated to several little goodies. The sensational train wreckage brought back good memories (?) of Oceanic Flight 815’s crash from the TV series Lost. The well of sci-fi elements in Super 8 doesn’t run too deep, but is enough to satisfy diehards.
It is notable that the characters largely drive this story, as opposed to the action of the event they are dealing with. That’s a trademark of Abrams’ style and is very welcome in the sci-fi genre today. He also captures the emotional sophistication and tenderness of adolescence and that helps the audience make that important connection to the characters.
Super 8 is reminiscent of films where kids run the action such as E.T., The Goonies, Stand By Me and Gremlins. They’re literally darting around on bicycles. I half expected them to start pedaling into the night sky. That’s most likely because Steven Spielberg, who claims executive producer credits, also has his fingers into most of them as well.
The downside of this film is the third act where all hell breaks loose and the kids scramble to save the day. Once the problem they’re facing is full presented to them, the plot steers low and loose. Revealing the face of your big secret is always a mistake if it comes too early.
While I don’t think Super 8 will go down in movie history like some of the aforementioned titles, it does stand up for some summer time movie blockbuster fun.
BTW…stick around for the end credits for the payoff on the home movie. It’s nearly as good as the feature length.