JJ Abrams Super 8 Review
Another Monster Flick for JJ
JJ Abrams has managed to turn in another solid summer blockbuster film with Super 8. At first when talk of Super 8 originated it was thought to have been a prequel or sequel to Cloverfield, a film that Abrams produced, but instead it is a standalone film. Abrams says he did this film in light of the fact that he used to film random things as a kid using a Super 8 camera. The film itself Abrams says was a homage to his producer Steven Spielberg and his films from the 70's. Considering that's what Abrams was going for, I'd say he did a damn good job. The film had the 70's groove and the aesthetic feel of a Spielberg film. Another thing going it is the fact that it stars unknown children that turn in very good performances.
The plot of the film here isn't anything original. We've all seen it before, it follows an alien that was being held by the government that suddenly breaks out and decides to get a little revenge while it plans it's escape Earth. The main character, Joe Lamb and his friends have been filming a zombie film and decide to film at the local train station for more production value. As they are filming a train comes roaring by and is derailed by a man driving a pickup truck that jumps the tracks. The scene is one of the most realistic train crashes that have been seen in films yet. The film also shows a human element to the alien allowing for the audience to care for it and hope that it does get home safely. I don't want to divulge to much into the plot as if I say much more I would spoil certain things.
The acting is another thing that should not go unnoticed here. Kyle Chandler again goes to show how underrated of an actor he is in the business despite the fact that his in this film is similar to his role in Friday Night Lights. He plays the father of Joe and the local deputy who had recently lost his wife due to a tragic accident that he blames Louis Dainard for. He does an admirable job but the children are the ones that truly shine in this film. Joel Courtney as Joe does a fantastic job with his role. Some of the best scenes came from his interactions with his father where they wouldn't see eye to eye. Elle Fanning may have stolen the show, one scene I won't forget is where she pretended to be zombie in front of Joe. It was a touching scene, but also a little creepy due to her pitch-perfect portrayal of a zombie. As for the the monster itself, well you'll have to see the movie for yourself. Part of the intrigue in seeing a monster flick is the interest of seeing what the monster actually looks like, so I won't take that surprise away from you.
Overall it was a very entertaining film one that people of most ages can appreciate. This film also helps further cement Abrams as a top tier director in the industry, while it may also be the start of a long and promising career for Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning. The unoriginal plot may be a problem for some but the talents of JJ Abrams and the young actors bring the film up just enough. The only thing that kept this film from getting a 5 out of 5 is the unoriginal plot and the weak ending. While I didn't have to big of a problem with the ending, I'm sure plenty of people will. Out of all of the summer films thus far this has been one of my personal favorite films.