‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 221

#174 / 365 – ‘Super 8′ – 112 mins
Cinema Challenge #72 / 115

In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

There can be a lot to be said about nostalgia and if used correctly in a film, it can have a very powerful effect on the audience. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up seeing most of the early films of that genius filmmaker Steven Spielberg, mainly on VHS. In fact E.T was my first ever film I watched at the cinema all the way back in ’82.

So if you put ‘E.T.’, ‘Close Encounters’ The Goonies’ ‘Stand By Me’ in a blender with ‘Cloverfield’ and transport the mixture all the way back to 1979 in the ‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean – out will come J.J. Abrams Super 8. As he says thank you to Spielberg for those beautiful films.

The biggest strength of the Super 8 is how engaging Abrams makes this wonderful homage journey from start to finish. He does a fantastic job of slowly but surely introducing us to the main characters before unloading the films biggest set piece, the train derailment which is absolutely spectacular. It’s loud, well shot, chaotic and probably the most prolonged train crash in movie history – it just doesn’t seem to want to end.

Like with his previous offerings, the atmospheric filled Cloverfield and the rebooted Star Trek. Here Abram’s makes excellent use of the camera and shoots with various angles, with lots of lens flare on show. In fact, this effect has become his trademark, which I’m a fan of.

The kids are all superbly cast and all give heartfelt performances, especially Elle Fanning as Alice and Joel Courtney as Joe, who come over ever so natural to give the film it’s emotional weight as a budding romance blossoms between them.

Whilst Super 8 is nowhere near the level of that early spellbinding era of Spielberg’s. Both Abrams and the man himself Spielberg (who serves as producer) do a very impressive job of evoking some touching memories, especially the ending which is genuinely moving.

Super 8 is one of those great sci-fi adventure films and is everything a summer blockbuster should be, and it casts a wave of magic over you to make it very best of this summers offering so far.

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4 Responses to ‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 221

  1. Best ‘Period’ Sci-fi action movie of the year and it only gets 4 stars? mind you I’m *not* a fan of J.J.Abrams use of lens flare – it’s used too much IMO especially when it obscures/blocks actors on screen!

    the other points that are small issues with the film are… the tanks that seam to be firing with auto-loading ammunition, the kids suddenly finding themselves on the street after being in the underground lair 1 shot previously, the final launch is pure Spielberg too, and is far too glossy, that’s not to say it’s wrong, but just looks out of place for the feel of the film.

    Overall, the fact that this takes place in 1979 and that period in time is documented to a T, makes this more than enjoyable and you forgive the minor issues.

    (It should be 5 Star!)

  2. There are many elements that go into my star ratings. The main things are quality of acting, plot, dialogue, characters. But when awarding that all important 5th star means the film as achieved perfection in every area for me, and would be a film that I would rush out too buy the DVD on it’s first day of release and then continue watch endlessly throughout my life without ever, ever boring of it! Whilst I enjoyed Super 8 and loved many parts of it just didn’t connect on every level for me. This is not say I’m not going to buy the DVD it’s just not one I’m going to wear out!

    I thank you for your comments though and welcome more of them. This is what I love about discussing movies with everyone is that we all personally find something different in each film! And if we all agreed with each other it would be boring! ha ha

    I do agree with you though on that it’s defiantly the best Sci-Fi film of the year so far….and worlds apart from Battle LA and Skyline!

    I look forward to dissecting Super 8 more with you and at length, at Film Club!

  3. Custard says:

    I loved the film gave it a 9/10 in fact when I reviewed it yesterday.

    Loved the kids and how well they were penned out and acted. Nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia.

    Are you really a fan of the lens flare? I can’t stand it. Really distracting in Star Trek and slightly off putting here.

    Great review matey

  4. Steve says:

    Yep I am a fan of the Lens I just think it adds something different to the movies – but agree I can see why some people find it off putting!

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