This film is brought to you by Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment – and it shows. It is directed by the hot “it” boy of Hollywood right now by creator of the TV Show “ Lost ”, J.J. Abrams. “Super 8” is a good summer flick, featuring adolescent teens and set in the early 1980s. The film works on a lot of levels, but the buddy alien that wants to go home has been done before…by Spielberg…in a little film called “E.T.”. It too was set in the early ‘80s. Oh wait, that’s when it was made. Riiiiight. You can see where I am going with this, of course, but the similarities end there – thank goodness!
“Super 8” is really the story of Joe Lamb and Alice as they fall in love with each other. To heck with the rest of the alien storyline, because this is what the movie is really about. It is touching and utterly believable. I credit neither J.J. Abrams nor Steven Spielberg with this either. I credit two very young, but exquisitely talented actors: Joel Courtney & Elle Fanning. Basically, if you don’t want to see a movie about 2 young teens falling in love in the early ‘80s, then skip this film entirely. On the other hand, if that kind of story you might find touching, then I HIGHLY recommend “Super 8”.
The film will keep you guessing as to what will happen next, and there are several suspenseful moments in the film, including some make-you-jump moments. There is some humor of course, but it is suited to the younger kids and things they will readily grasp. I think many of us “children of the ‘80s” can identify with this movie, in a kind of “Goonies” way. The kids are misfits, to an extent, but I found myself thinking “I knew a kid I grew up with that was a lot like that”. I think many other viewers with have a similar reaction to the film.
The supporting cast is filled with great actors, like Kyle Chandler as Deputy Lamb and Ron Eldard as Alice’s dad and Noah Emmerich as Col. Nelec. Right now, you are probably wondering who these people are, right? Ron Eldard you might remember as Shep from the ’95 & ’96 seasons of the TV Show “ E.R.”. Noah Emmerich will ring a bell if you have ever seen “the Truman Show” with Jim Carrey. Kyle Chandler I had to look up. I knew he was familiar but I couldn’t place him. Think Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and the cheesy actor named Bruce Greenwood is how you will know Chandler. It really is a fantastic ensemble supporting cast. Kudos to the casting director! The kids that play all of Joe’s film buddies are of course unknown, but mark their names because you will hear of them again – and soon. They are: Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, and Zach Mills.
I have to recommend “Super 8” for a lot of the acting talent and the writing. However, the alien story serves as a backdrop and is not the feature of the film and it makes no difference at all whether you understand any of it. Not a great deal of explanation is given, not even to the level of an old episode of the “X Files”. So in this regard, I have to say the trailer is very misleading. It’s still a great movie though! Just be prepared for a bit of ‘80s teen nostalgia – minus the teen music of the ‘80s. No John Hughes influences here, but more Stephen King a la’ “Stand by Me” and definitely the influence of “the Goonies”.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.
- Super 8: a movie review (thefirstgates.com)
- Super 8 (cinemasunset.wordpress.com)
- J.J. Abrams’ secretive ‘Super 8′ comes into focus at CinemaCon (insidemovies.ew.com)