You may not know much about J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” but would you expect anything less from the creator of “Lost”? It’s kind of his thing.
Combine Abrams’ knack for conspiracy with producer Steven Spielberg’s box office prowess, and you have a recipe for blockbuster gold.
Does it deliver?
Does it deliver it in an airtight plot?
At times. But for this thriller, I think most audiences will forgive the lack of conspiracy back-story.
The heart of this story centers around a kid named Joe (Joel Courtney), his father Jack (Kyle Chandler), and Joes’ group of zombie film making friends (that’s friends who make films about zombies, not zombie friends who make films).
It’s the summer of 1979, it’s been four months since Joe’s mother passed, having died in an accident at the plant.
Joe’s dad, the small town’s deputy is struggling with his new role as a single father, and Joe’s dealing by sneaking off to do make-up for his friend’s film.
This ragtag band of young artists make the film.
Their perspective as young filmmakers provide the frame for this entire movie. Their eager contemplation of story-telling, production value, life, and what they all mean is simply mesmerizing.
They hold it all together in a way that can only be accomplished with the innocence of youth. It works. Think “The Goonies” and “E.T.” rolled into one. These kids are smart, funny, and just plain awesome.
The fairest among these monster movie miscreants is Alice (Elle Fanning), who also happens to be the daughter of the man Jack (Joe’s father) blames for the death of his wife. You can probably guess where that’s headed.
During one of their late night filming expeditions, the kids witness a train crash and quickly learn they can’t talk about it. Of course being kids this means they can’t stop talking about it.
What follows? A whole lot of mystery and conspiracy, and that’s all you’re getting from me. You know I’m not one for spoilers.
I will tell you this, what’s at the end of the conspiracy isn’t nearly as interesting as what it takes to get there.
As hard as it tries to be a thriller, “Super 8” isn’t nearly as scary as it is sweet, and that’s OK.
Having said that, it is pretty gruesome at times and it is rated PG-13.
So yes, you may find yourself gasping or looking away at times, but I said it once (at least, I lost count) and I’ll say it again. The kids make this movie.
Take away the mysterious creature, the explosions, and the conspiracy theories, and you’re still left with a group of kids, a camera, and a pretty great story.