Synopsis: 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.
Release Date: June 10, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Drama
J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg have teamed up to bring us what they hope will turn out to be the blockbuster hit of the summer. Super 8 revolves around Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney in his first role) and his friends as they make a zombie movie. One night, while shooting, they stumble upon a horrible train wreck that they happen to catch on film. The kids realize that the catastrophe was no normal accident when the U.S. Air Force shows up to investigate and play clean up. Soon after the wreck, strange things start happening in the town. First, every dog in town runs away. Next, random mechanical devices such as car motors and microwave ovens just vanish. When people start disappearing, the town’s Deputy Sheriff, who’s also Joe’s father (played by Kyle Chandler, Coach Taylor from “Friday Night Lights”) has his hands full trying to find out what is going on. It’s only when the kids watch the film of the accident that they realize that the problem is much bigger than anyone could have imagined â their town has been invaded by a bonafide monster.
Super 8 is exactly what audiences have come to expect from Abrams. In fact, replace New York City with a small town and twenty-something yuppies with middle-school children and Super 8 is Abram’s Cloverfield without the “found footage” gimmick. What viewers can look forward to is a fun film that has jumps and starts mixed with subtle humor to break them up. Super 8 is a standard monster movie, but one with heart. Abrams, as both writer and director, keeps the audience riveted to their seat waiting for what will happen next, but also makes the viewer care about his characters. It’s just the right mix of E.T. and Independence Day.
The visual effects in Super 8 are where most of the time and budget of the film went. The massive special effects and visual effects team were supervised by Steve Riley (who did the effects for Spiderman), and he had his work cut out for him. Riley’s team’s hard work has paid off â the visuals are slick. From the Con-Air like explosion of the train wreck to the Alien meets The Thing monster itself, everything looks amazing. It’s impossible to go into the scope of the effects without giving away too much about the film, but one thing is for sure, Abrams got his money’s worth from Riley’s people.
The acting in Super 8 is surprisingly good. This fact comes as a bit of a shock because the main characters are kids, and most are inexperienced actors. The children are so good that they out-act the adults in the cast. Courtney is great as Joe and has a long career ahead of him. Elle Fanning is equally as good as Alice Dainard, the closest thing to a leading lady that can be found in Super 8. Another newcomer, Riley Griffiths, is also good as Joe’s best friend (and the “director” of their zombie movie) Charles. Even better than the individual performances of the kids is the chemistry that they exhibit. Courtney and Griffiths have this give-and-take in their scenes that anyone who has had a childhood best friend will recognize. Fanning and Courtney have an awkward junior high school he-loves-me-not nervous tension about their scenes that make the viewer think that they are either going to start making out or start laughing hysterically. The adults in Super 8 are really the supporting cast, and the kids take the lead.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): J.J. Abrams
- Producer(s): J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg
- Cast: Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb), Jessica Tuck (Mrs. Kaznyk), Joel McKinnon Miller (Mr. Kaznyk), Ryan Lee (Cary), Zach Mills (Preston), Kyle Chandler (Jackson Lamb), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Riley Griffiths (Charles)
- Other Crew: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey, Larry Fong, Martin Whist, Michael Giacchino
- Country Of Origin: USA