Super 8, directed by JJ Abrams is a mystery thriller taking place in the summer of 1979, after a group of kids investigate a train crash and other bizarre events going on in their town, the film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee.
Super 8 has the feel of an 80s’ sci-fi movie about mysterious goings on and that tone is captured effectively by JJ Abrams, who created a film shrouded in mystery, the film had viral marketing and no one really had any idea what the film was about, a plan which turned out in the films favour in the long run. But in saying that, the film doesn’t necessarily get better as it goes on, the plot is driven by its’ younger, child cast as they explore what’s going on in their town after a train crash, with Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning) being the main characters, hopeful and ambitious, they believe in bigger things – aliens and the like,while the towns adults discredit and doubt them.
This more traditional story of the ambitious kids being onto developing strange events and the cynical adults that don’t believe has been done many times before and does the film do it any better, well no, not really, although Abrams should be credited for crafting a believable town in America, in 1979 from the cars, to the shops around town, to the clothes characters wear and even the Super 8 cameras that are used, where the film gets its name from.
The story works well enough as an ongoing mystery drama and the intrigue over what’s going on is what’s keeping you engaged, the child actors are good enough but will either add to the story for viewers or turn them off of it and as the plot progresses and things are revealed. Things are a bit… odd, especially in the way the kids react to and deal with the situation as things unfold, following the kids as the only ones with the information and the power to do something about it does feel a bit cheesy and that attempt to capture the feeling of sci-fi stories of years past may come across as a bit forced and derivative.
That being said, what the film does well is keep that sense of intrigue in the plot for a while and it also has some great visuals, not hugely surprising for a JJ Abrams film though, the plot isn’t a compelling as you think it will be from watching trailers of the film though and a lot of the films characters are thin on material. The premise is an intriguing one for sure and Abrams is a master at building up hype and anticipation for films, though unfortunately that doesn’t always pay off and Super 8 is one of those examples.
The film is totally The Goonies meets Close Encounters Of The Third Kind with a distinctly 70s style coming of age film with sci-fi elements mixed into it and if you like the sound of that and haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s far from JJ Abrams best but it’s still an interesting effort nonetheless.
. Film has some great visuals, certain scenes
. Lacks characters with depth though one or two are interesting
. Certain events later in the plot felt a bit telegraphed