Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning
Released: June 10, 2011
Viewed in theaters: June 14, 2011
In a summer full of sequels and comic-book adaptations, Super 8 is a small gem to be found among those blockbusters and will most likely get lost in the shuffle, but if you want a fun and suspenseful summer flick reminiscent of Speilberg-esque supernatural movies such as E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind and coming-to-age films like Stand By Me with a little bit of The Goonies thrown in for good measure, then I can't recommend Super 8 enough.
The movie takes place in the summer of 1979 and is centered around a group of middle school-aged kids from a small town in Ohio who are making a zombie movie to enter in their town's film festival. What I like about the cast is that they are actually the age one would be in middle school and they act like normal kids, none of that precocious, cutesy kid stuff you see from so many annoying child actors. I also like the fact that the dialogue doesn't seem to be written by a Kevin Willimason or Diablo Cody-type and there are no lines that are trying to be clever or witty. They're just normal kids who are friends and that's why you believe. Even though they're all really cute kids, I also like that they're not all perfect-looking like they just came from the Disney channel.
One night, while shooting a scene near the train tracks, they witness a horrific train crash, which, believe me, even if you don't like the movie, you will get your money's worth just for that scene alone. It is one intense scene. After that, some crazy stuff starts to go down. There's a monster that we don't see fully until the end of the movie, but we do see glimpses of it and when it's rustling in the trees, it reminded me of Jurassic Park and the smoke monster from Lost. Even though it was an integral part of the movie, I much preferred the coming-of-age angle rather than the monster angle. I didn't quite understand the whole story with the monster, but I had a "medium" Wild Cherry Pepsi (really, it looked more like a large!) and had to use the bathroom. I went after the kids get caught sneaking in the school, so maybe I missed some important plot points while I was gone. Oh, I also had Twizzlers and the kids eat Twizzlers during the beginning of the film. Shoutout!
Now how could have I gone this long in this review without mentioning the lens flare? I've seen/heard several people bitch about the lens flare, but honestly I only noticed it in that one scene where the kids are getting ready to film by the train tracks. It was blue and it was very distracting and noticeable and I kept asking myself, "What the hell is that? What are those blue lights? What does it mean?" Then when I kept hearing about the lens flare, I knew exactly what they were talking about. If it was in any other part of the movie, I didn't notice it, though.
The end of the movie made me choke up and there's a scene that reminded me of Titanic. If you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about! (And if you've seen Titanic, of course, which I'm sure you have.) They show the kids' homemade movies during the end credits (about two minutes in so don't get up and leave right when the credits start) and let's just say they are much better filmmakers than that idiot in Cloverfield with his damn shaky camera who was twice their age!