It’s the summer movie season. “Event” movies are being released almost every week. Unfortunately, the number of releases this summer forces the casual moviegoer to be discriminating in their selection. Even the hard-core movie lovers must be careful not to blow their proverbial entertainment load too early in the season. I guess it is the same every summer and holiday season; it just makes it easy to miss good films because we spent the money to see the latest uber-hyped remake or sequel.
Someday, maybe I’ll be considered important enough to receive media passes for films, but while tickets are on my dime, there are times when the cinema trips will be sparse, as I’m sure is the case with many.
The latest movie to catch my interest and to receive my money was Super 8. I remember seeing the teaser trailer what feels like a year ago. A crashed train car, metallic banging – door flies off and something large climbs out.
The thing I thought was great about this one is that the actual story was kept somewhat under wraps until right before release. The marketing campaign relied heavily on the names of writer and director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg.
Super 8 centers on a group of kids in 1979 who, while filming a zombie movie on their super 8 camera, witness a horrific, non-accidental train crash (read – visually awesome). It turns out that the train was a military train, transporting some strange cube shaped, metallic objects as well as the aforementioned “something large”.
Super 8 is much more than a monster movie, though. It is a good story, aside from the monster aspect. It is a story of friendship and loss and how a few young people try to help a young person move on after tragedy. It is the story of how a man tries to cope with loss as well as being thrust into a situation for which he has no frame of reference.
Elle Fanning stands out as Alice Dainard, a girl caught between acceptance and her father’s guilt. Kyle Chandler plays the grieving Deputy Jackson Lamb and the heretofore unknown Joel Courtney plays his son Joe, our main character of sorts.
The few complaints I have heard about this one center on the lens flares and the appearance of the monster, neither of which bothered me at all.
If you like Abrams, monsters, kids or movies, go see this one. I think this is one that deserves to be seen in the theater.
How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I’d pay $9.75. Go for Abrams and Spielberg, stay for the story and the credits.
Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast
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