Super 8 is a film that I can honestly say I thought I was going to hate after enduring the first twenty minutes. Pretty much everything you need to know about the characters is summed up in the first twenty minutes. I mean everything. The film offers very few surprises from a character standpoint. Yet ultimately I found myself completely won over by the end of the film. Sure it has its flaws but I had a whole lot of fun watching this film. If you have not seen Super 8 yet, I will not go too much into the plot as it is almost better to go into the film knowing as little as possible. I will merely say the film revolves around a group of kids who are making a short film on a 8mm camera. One night while filming, the kids witness a major train crash that will eventually have huge consequences on the small town in which they live in. Instead of giving my usual style of review, today I thought I would share eight random thoughts I had while watching Super 8:
1. I understand that director J.J. Abrams is paying homage to the classic 80’s films that Steven Spielberg use to make, but I wish the first act was not so “paint by numbers.” Even Spielberg’s films such as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind did not feel so forced at the beginning.
2. The train crash scene is both horrible and fantastic at the same time. I loved the stuff at the station before the train arrives. Yet I found that the special effects, when kids were running from the flying debris, completely took me out of the moment as the effects were not strong enough in that sequence.
3. I was extremely happy to see Glynn Turman, who played the kind-hearted science teacher Roy Hanson in Gremlins, playing the kind-hearted scientist Dr. Woodward in this film. Something tells me his casting was not a result of coincidence.
4. Man these kids swear a lot, which is actually refreshing when you think about it. Normally in a film like this, when all hell breaks loose the children often keep the language clean to ensure family friendly receipts at the box office. Yet is was refreshing to see kids, who are running through a war zone, speak in a way that you would expect given the circumstances.
5. The film really comes to life when it focuses more on the kids’ friendship in relation to making to making the movie. The young casts of actors do a great job in their given roles. I especially thought Elle Fanning and Riley Griffiths, who plays the budding director Charles, were exceptional in their given roles.
6. The 8mm film that the kids make, which plays in the closing credits, was the icing on the cake for me. In fact, I almost enjoyed the 8mm film more than I did the actual Super 8 film.
7. “Drugs are soo bad” – my vote for comedic line of the summer.
8. J.J. Abrams has succeeded in making an instant classic that will play well on television for years to come. The film feels like he took two films of my youth, The Goonies and Stand by Me, and sprinkled in elements of all my favourite science fiction films throughout.