Friday, June 10, 2011

Super 8 (Movie Review)

Super 8   (Written and Directed by J.J. Abrams; Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg)

Take the best parts of E.T. and Cloverfield and what do you get?  One super movie.

Super 8 is set in the small town of Lillian, Ohio in 1979, yet hearkens back to the sci-fi films of the 1950's.  A mighty creature wreaks havoc on a quiet community, but this is much more than a monster movie.  It's a human movie, populated with realistic characters with whom the audience easily identifies.  The film offers not just heart-pounding action but also heart-tugging emotion.

To delve into plot specifics here is to do an injustice to a movie where discovery forms such a large part of the enjoyment.  Suffice it to say, Super 8 deftly hooks viewer interest with both its back-story (the gradually-revealed circumstances of a tragedy that has created a bitter rift between the families of two main characters) and its present dilemma (what was it that escaped from that derailed Air Force train, and what exactly is it up to now?).

Basically, this film has it all: mystery, adventure, humor (the jokes are genuinely amusing, and never corny or obtrusive).  And it has romance--the relationship that blossoms between the adolescents Joe and Alice (played by Joe Courtney and Elle Fanning, who are nothing short of outstanding). The rush provided by special FX eye candy is nothing compared to watching the moments of sweetness unfold between these two endearing characters.   

Super 8 is the best blend of science fiction and American Gothic to hit the big screen since M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.  It's the perfect film for summertime--or any other cinematic season.

A final note: even if you have been sitting on the edge of your seat, be sure not to bolt from the theater the instant the end credits start rolling.  You'll miss out on one last treat that Super 8 offers.

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