SPOILER: In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined. Written by
J.J. Abrams: [Kelvin] The gasoline station on the outskirts of town is named Kelvin Gasoline. Kelvin was the name of J.J. Abrams' grandfather. Abrams commonly uses this name in his work, such as "Kelvin Inman" from Lost (2004) and the USS Kelvin from Star Trek (2009). See more »
After the train wreck, Alice's car is dirty, has something sticking through the wheel/tire, and the trunk is up. But after they've all gotten into the car and she drives away, the car is perfectly clean, there is nothing sticking out of the tire, and the trunk is closed. See more »
It has been pretty much commented that Super 8 is a tribute to the classic films directed or produced by Steven Spielberg, in which the ordinary life in the suburbs was contrasted with an extraordinary phenomenon which had to be usually faced by the kids or teenagers, while the adults ignored the situations until it was too late. In that aspect, director and screenwriter J.J. Abrams achieved exactly what he proposed to himself, even though he had to sacrifice any trace of originality or surprise in the film. However, Super 8 kept me very entertained because of its solid direction, excellent performances and well written screenplay. In summary, this film is an exciting juvenile adventure seasoned with wide doses of "Spielbergian" nostalgia.
If we analyze Super 8 scene by scene, we can find an alarming number of parallels to films like The Goonies, Poltergeist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and specially, E.T. The subject from Super 8 is superficially different, but the characters, atmosphere and tone perfectly emulate the "Spielberg style" from the '70s and the '80s, when his films (either as a director or producer) literally changed the face of popular cinema. Even the young actors from Super 8 possess that chemistry with each other which makes us to accept their long friendship and related personalities...even though that, as in any group of friends, they occasionally have juvenile disputes with each other.
And besides of the perfect chemistry they have with each other, the young actors also make a brilliant individual work, highlighting Joel Courtney, Ryan Lee and specially Elle Fanning. After the works she brought in Somewhere and Super 8, Fanning reveals herself as a great actress who is even superior to her famous sister Dakota. The moment in which her performance in Super 8 most impressed me was during a scene of "performance into performance" which is so good that it equals the one interpreted by Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr. (I am not exaggerating). As for the adult cast, the only one who stands out is Kyle Chandler, who makes a solid work as a simultaneously benevolent and strict father.
On the negative side, the screenplay from Super 8 falters a little bit in some important points. Abrams dominates the drama and the growing suspense very well, but he occasionally violates the internal logic from the story or forces too convenient situations. Nevertheless, Super 8 is a very good film which definitely deserves a recommendation because of the genuine talent it has in front of and behind the camera.
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