They don’t make’em like they used to.
That is generally true, except J.J. Abrams goes above and beyond to prove that theory wrong. Super 8 is his homage to Spielberg’s earlier work, plane and simple, and is a great film at the same time.
The plot centers on a group of kids making a zombie film with home video equipment in the 197o’s. They witness a terrific train accident, then mysterious things start happening all over town, and they of course hold the key to finding the answers. Its like Goonies meets E.T. The dynamic between the kids is great. The parents, in typical genre fashion, are clueless yet well intentioned. Kids are more forgiving, parents are more set in their ways, all reconcile by the time the credits roll.
The movie is nostalgic. It focuses on the characters for the first half, before the story takes over and we are on a roller coaster of plot resolutions and special affects. This is of course works because we care about the characters.
Abrams uses his stylish lens flare, which is starting to be a bit annoying. You can tell he is pulling out all the stops to make this feel like an old Spielberg film, with the close ups of characters faces, the mystery in the dark, the sweeping shots from below.
Its well acted, well written, summer movie fun, with a heart, and the right amount of references for those of us more familiar with the films they used to make, and how they used to make’em