J.J. Abrams has made a love song to Steven Spielberg. From the Super 8 One Sheet that bears a striking resemblance to the One Sheet for Close Encounters of The Third Kind to his story which bears a striking resemblance to both E.T. and The Goonies.
Our story is set in 1979-for no clear reason other than J.J. wanted to listen to some old tunes from the era when Disco was duking it out with New Wave. There are a couple of gags about Sony Walkmans that play cassette tapes and overnight film processing, but there was no reason it couldn’t have been set in the present.
Our heroes are a group of middle school kids, and as Super 8 opens, one of our little heroes loses his Mom in an accident at the local factory. A few months pass, they start to make a zombie film, and romance is beginning to blossom between two of the zombie film’s stars. Then there is a train wreck and something escapes from the wreckage.
From here on in it’s mostly a standard issue monster movie with brief flashes of the monster as our young film makers run here and there trying to avoid the monster, their parents, and those nasty folks from The Government-always the bad guys in Spielberg films. Along the way a bit of filming gets done on the zombie movie, we get more glimpses of the big bad whatever it is, and we find out why the young heroes parents hate each other.
By far the best bit of the film is during the credits, when we are shown the short zombie movie in all it’s ameture edited glory. This might have been a better movie if they had just left out that whole monster in a train wreck part.
J.J. Abrams tossed in a number of stylistic quirks to give Super 8 an interesting, but often distracting look. Several scenes had thick visible film grain and there were near constant bursts of lens flare.
Super 8 was good, but not great. If you liked Cloverfield, you’ll like Super 8.