Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Super 8

Super 8
Directed by:  JJ Abrams
Written by:  JJ Abrams
Released in theaters June 10, 2011

My Rating: ★★★★★

As I suspected, JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg did not disappoint! With a great screenplay, tons of explosions, and a mysterious alien life form, how could you possibly go wrong?!?!

While a group of young friends works on a super 8 film they are making for an upcoming contest, a catastrophic train crash occurs right behind them. It soon becomes evident that there was more to this crash than meets the eye. Before long, the town starts noticing a strange military presence while other inexplicable events occur at an increasing rate—people and various items like microwaves and car engines are suddenly missing. This group of creative and intelligent adolescents takes it upon themselves to discover the truth about what is really out there and what it is trying to accomplish.

It reminded me a lot of the Goonies, in a good way. Rather than young treasure hunters, we have a group of 1970’s middle-schoolers suddenly caught up in a government conspiracy involving life from outer space. These intelligent and curious kids provide the perfect mix of amusing entertainment with a hint of drama and suspense. 

I was quite impressed with the young members of the cast.  The adults took a backseat to this extremely talented group of youngsters. They didn’t miss a beat, and I know at that age (or even now) I could never have pulled off such a stellar performance. It was these fresh actors that made this movie unique and special. Otherwise, I think it probably would have just been your run of the mill alien movie. 

There was a great little peppering of “real life” in the film that I think kept it nicely grounded. The main character, Joe (Joel Courtney), recently lost his mother in a work accident, so there was this tension of his police deputy father, Jackson (Kyle Chandler), coming to terms with being a newly single parent. On top of that, his mother’s death was linked to the drinking and absence of Louis (Ron Eldard), the father of one of Joe’s new friends, Alice (Elle Fanning). Both of the fathers were determined to keep their children away from each other. In addition, as Joe’s feeling for Alice grew, he found out his best friend, Charles (Riley Griffiths), was feeling slightly betrayed.  In the midst of all the crazy alien happenings, these kids were having to deal with everyday problems which made the story more believable and relatable. 

I was especially thrilled that the super 8 movie the kids were working on, a classic zombie flick, was actually shown during the closing credits of the film. It almost makes me want to get my own super 8 camera and see what creative fun we can come up with! Of course, I’ll pass on the irrational, homicidal military and distraught aliens.

This film is rated PG-13. There is minor language, violence/action, a little blood/gore, and some scary situations. I was still comfortable letting my six-year-old and two-year-old watch this film with us, and they do not seem to be traumatized so far!

This review can also be found at JournalStone