Jay and I went to see Super 8 last night. I was going to write up something when we got home last night but I didn’t quite know what to say about it. I could give a spoiler-free plot summary, like I’ve tried to do for The Hangover Part 2, Bridesmaids, and X-Men: First Class, but I honestly feel that in the case of a movie like Super 8, almost anything I say would be spoilery. We didn’t know much about Super 8 beforehand and I think that we enjoyed the experience…not more but differently…than if we had known what to expect.
So here’s what I will say: Set in 1979, the plot centers around a group of middle school aged children who are filming a zombie movie to enter in a film festival. While filming, they witness an event, the aftermath of which will change life as they know it. It was written & directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg.
I think that’s as vague as I can get. We knew nothing about it before going to see it, not even what the incident (pun intended, of course) that set off the story’s action was. Do yourself a favor and don’t read any reviews, not even the description on IMDb first.
So what did I think? Well, for lack of a better adjective/I think I’m funny, I’ll say that it was super. I truly liked it a lot. The plot, for all its mystery, is quite simple and easy to follow. There aren’t a million storylines going on so you really get to know each character and want to root for them. Kyle Chandler (Coach from Friday Night Lights) played the main character’s father and the town’s police deputy sheriff who finds himself in the thick of things after the sheriff disappears. I can’t hate anything that Chandler does and he didn’t disappoint me in this movie either. Noah Emmerich (White Collar & The Walking Dead) plays the bad guy and Lost fans should be on the lookout for a cameo by composer Michael Giacchino as a police deputy. The grown-ups did a fine job but at the end of the day, this was a coming-of-age tale a la Stand By Me [I know people have compared it to The Goonies but I’ve never seen that movie so I have to stick with the one I do know and love] and it was the young actors that stole the show. Newcomer Joel Courtney played the movie’s hero, Joe Lamb. I couldn’t believe it when I read in this week’s Entertainment Weekly that this was the first time he’s acted before. He was fantastic, I wanted to hug him like 47 different times. Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota and quite possibly a better actress, played the movie’s only main female character, Alice. Riley Griffiths was hilarious as aspiring writer/director Charles. Rounding up the very talented young cast are Ryan Lee (Cary), Zach Mills (Preston) and Gabriel Basso (Martin). Each one made their roles their own unique characters. I really hope these kids don’t take the Lohan route and end up as worthless wastes of talents. It would be such a shame.
Well now I’ve successfully showed you how to review a movie in 500 words without actually reviewing the movie. If you’re thinking about bringing kids to see it, I’ll say this: There are explosions, some on-screen killing but not as graphic as your average Transformers movie, and a lot of suspenseful, scary moments. There is nothing to worry about in terms of sex, minor marijuana use though it’s not said that’s what the character is doing, and because it’s PG-13, there’s only one F-bomb to worry about. I do hope that you’ll consider adding Super 8 to your summer movie list and if you do, don’t leave as soon as the credits start! If you did already see it, what did you think?
Alias J.J.A. fans will get their own little easter egg with a little #47 reference.
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a movie with some lens flare, then this is the movie for you. I suggest a drinking game upon rewatch.