This was a movie I really waited for to see. Now I finally made it into the theatre. The movie is widely understood as a throwback to the good old 80s kids, adventure movies. Much like ET, Explorers, Stand By Me and Goonies. These 80s movies have something special in them that make the watching experience timeless somehow. These movies will always work. They got lovely stories, a lot of heart, nice character development and, of course, some great kids actors. They’re just fun to watch. Perfect popcorn entertainment.
With Super 8 JJ Abrams tries to bring back the atmosphere and heart of these classics into our times and to a new generation of movie audience. And yes, the movie definitely got all the right ingredients. Does it use these ingredients right? Well… most of the time it does.
First of all We have the mandatory group of friends facing summer holidays and making plans for that summer. We have that mandatory kid who is having family problems and recently suffered a great loss. We have the freaky kid who is always trouble. We have the whiney kid. We have a girl who is a love interest for our main kid. Etc etc etc. So yeah… I could go on forever but as you can already see the ingredients are there. The script accompanies perfectly well too. The kids go through some amazing events and ultimately are the key to solving all problems.
The story is actually pretty simple. The kids want to take part in an amateur film contest and plan to do a zombie movie. They take it all really serious and they all want to do their part and their best to make it good. Now that one night they venture out to the local train station to film a part of their movie, when suddenly a train comes by. Out of nowhere a car runs onto the train tracks and the collision makes the full speed going train derail. That scene is done pretty good. VFX work nice there. Of course it’s all a little over the top with waggons flying around and so on. But hey, that’s not a complaint. It’s an intense scene and our heroes make it through. And their camera captured it all. What the camera also captures is that something made its way out of one of the waggons. The kids notice that it’s an Air Force train, grab their equipment and rush the hell away from there. Military is already coming. Of course the kids send the tape into development as soon as possible. In the meanwhile a lot of weird things start to happen in and around the town. And we follow the happenings along with the kids. Which is, of course, fun to watch.
As good as the movie celebrates the old 80s kids movies it also got a few down sides. I personally found the ending part a little flat. By that I don’t mean the actual departure scene of the creature. That was beautifully done and rememberes a lot on E.T. and Encounters (of the third kind). I, for example, don’t exactly understand why the creature captures the people. Ok it propably doesn’t want them to tell anyone where they saw it. But then it could have killed them easily. But why is it capturing them? And why exactly did the animals run away? Maybe I missed that part.
Ultimately it’s a rare movie to see these days and I think JJ Abrams succeeded in bringing back the old days feeling of such summer movies. But JJ please… reduce the lens flare craze in your recent movies. It is a little too much. Otherwise it’s a wonderful summer movie with some nice characters and a solid story. I had a fun time and quite a few laughs.