Super 8 – Review
I first heard about Super 8 when I saw a teaser trailer for it at the cinema and then promptly forgot all about it. It just looked like another generic alien/monster movie. However, as the release date came closer and more information of the film released, it seemed that my first impressions may have been a little too hasty; there may have been more to the film than I first gave it credit for.
The plot centres on a group of young friends from a small Ohio town who are trying to make a monster movie. As they film one scene on a small railway platform, they witness a pickup truck crash through the barriers and into a military train causing it to derail. Gathering their movie making equipment, they run from the scene glad to be alive. As they come to terms with narrowly escaping death, they notice a series of strange occurrences start happening and before long, realise that not only did their camera capture the crash, it also captured part of the train’s cargo escaping.
Directed by man of the moment, J.J. Abrams, and produced my Mr Spielberg, most people would think this would be a big budget action adventure film. Although the budget bit would be right, the rest is less so. Super 8 follows the relationships of the children and uses the escaped alien/monster from the train wreck as a vehicle to do this. In this way, Super 8 is almost two films, a coming of age drama about a group of children and an alien/monster film. As you watch the film progress, you soon realise the emphasis is placed more on the social relationships between the children rather than finding the alien/monster and this is where the film tries to become more endearing to you but instead becomes slightly confusing as the children try to deal with growing up and finding an alien at the same time (which they manage to do and in typical Hollywood style by the end of the film). This is a shame as you almost feel that each part needs their own independent film to do their respective stories justice. The story aside, the acting and direction (for each film) are brilliant throughout and you do start to become engrossed in the characters. This is up to the point where the alien/monster attacks and then you want to know what is going on there but this is left so that all emphasis is back on the children. One feature I particularly liked was that when the alien/monster attacks, you never really get to have a good look at it until the end so much is left to your own imagination for the majority of the film.
Apart from appearing to be two separate films, Super 8 also appears to be a homage and amalgamation of Spielberg films from 1980’s. This is no bad thing as Super 8 becomes a fairly decent all round family film with a feel that reminds you of movies such as E.T., Stand By Me and The Goonies. If you are a fan of these types of films, you will definitely enjoy this.
Watch the trailer here