#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.