Summers come and go, and so do the movies. For the last few years we’ve seen Leonardo Decaprio steel your secrets, MichaelBayblow up half of Hollywoodcredibility, and enough comic book movies to make even Stan Lee wearisome. In a summer full of franchises, sequels, and comic book movies; I am proud to announce that “Super 8”is the first real gem to truly shine. From the moment I saw this trailer I knew that this film was going to be something special. Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, “Super 8”really evokes memories of those truly great 80’s Sci-fi movies. Think “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” meet “The Goonies”, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what makes this film so much fun to watch.
“Super 8”is set the small industrial town of Lillian, Ohio. The year is 1979 and our protagonist (Joe Lamp) and his friends are trying to complete their homemade zombie film for an up and coming festival. One night while filming a scene near the town’s train station, a train derails in a spectacular scene of flying railway cars and exploding propane tankers. It was AWESOME! Scattered amongst the debris are a bunch of little strange looking cubes and something unseen escapes from one of the cars. Soon the Air Force rolls into town and starts taking things over. Recently promoted up to Sheriff, Joe’s father as well as himself; take it upon themselves to discover what’s really going on and find out what the Air Force is hiding. I won’t go into anymore of the plot line so as not to spoil it; but rest assured “Super 8”has a fun story.
Introducing for the first time ever on screen, Joel Courtney, “Super 8”s greatest success is its young stars. “Super 8”stars Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, Riley Griffiths, and Gabriel Basso. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) plays the father of Joel Courtney’s character. After the death of his wife, the following months have left Chanler’s character emotionally separated from his son. Elle Fanning plays the love interest of the film so to speak. Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning really shine in this film. It may sound odd to say that Child actors fascinate me, but hear me out because I don’t mean it like that. Elle and Joel outshine the entire rest of the cast with their performances in this film. This brings me to my next topic. What makes “Super 8”great?
Sure the visuals and special effects are great here, the train wreck and the ending of the film are spectacular to behold. The audio I imagine is really well done too, except the theater I was in was experiencing technical difficulties. Anyways, “Super 8”really finds itself not in its story, but in its characters, themes, and setting. I haven’t seen a movie that really made me feel nostalgic about my childhood in a really long time. I didn’t grow up in the 1970’s but you get what I’m saying. I’m talking about what it means to grow up and be a kid. I believe Lisa Schwarzbaum said it best in her review, “It’s been ages since adolescent innocence, fatherly authority, and everyday awe were in movie vogue.” She said it best. A summer movie doesn’t need to be a complex roller coaster to please audiences. Sometimes even a simple story can be amazing. “Super 8”may not be the Sci-fi spectacle that “Star Trek” was, but it truly is a wonder to behold. “Super 8”will have me looking into the night sky for months to come, especially after I go see a few more times.