Allow me to preface this review by stating categorically that I have never liked any JJ Abrams film. To me, Mission: Impossible 3 is little more than a generic action film, Cloverfield is a failed experiment and Star Trek is just plain boring.
But now, with Super 8, Abrams has finally lived up to his hype.
The film tells the story of thirteen year old Joe who, along with some filmmaking buddies, are at the site of a train crash and accidentally record some blurry beast stepping from the wreckage. When the Air Force show up and put the town under lock-down, only the group of friends can work out what’s going on.
With an early eighties setting – along with some nice post-disco touches – the film is reminiscent of Spielberg’s hay-day.
Small town USA? Check!
Boy with Daddy issues? Check!
Army conspiracies? Check!
Wise-cracking fat kid? Check!
Spielberg has lost his touch since Jurassic Park. His films have lost that certain magic they once had. But Super 8 is the best film Spielberg never made (although he did produce it). The score is spot on, reminding me of all those great eighties family films like Close Encounter and Back to the Future. And most viewers are instantly reminded of The Goonies on seeing the group of young filmmakers.
The action is fun, the humour keeps going throughout and the effects (and lens flare!) are used surprisingly sparingly. Even the cringe-worthy METAPHOR at the end didn’t ruin the experience for me. In fact, I only have one bad thing to say about the film. Throughout I was completely buying the authenticity of the eighties setting but in one scene a character makes a note of laughing at the idea of a Walkman. It’s a small thing but it just reminded me that this is actually a parody and not a genuine eighties film.
This is well worth catching and be sure to stay for a minute into the end credits to catch the hilarious home-made film the characters came up with.