Review of 'Super 8'

super_8.jpg In the summer of 1979 a group of young friends making a film witness a massive train crash and a creature emerging from the wreckage…Director Charles (Riley Griffiths), make-up artist Joe (Joel Courtney), explosives expert (and pyromaniac) Cary (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills), and Martin (Gabriel Basso) discover Dr Woodward (Glynn Turman), a teacher at the school, caused the accident by driving into the train with his truck. Still alive he warns them not to tell anyone what they have seen then a short time later the military arrive to take control of the site. Over the next few days there are a series of unexplained events like the disappearance of local dogs, then the military arrive to evacuate the town having intentionally starting the fire that threatens the town…Things are getting a bit odd and it is up to this misfits to not only finish their film but figure out just what is going on.

This is all a bit “Stranger Things” or, for older readers, “The Goonies” with a group of geeky kids coming across something they shouldn't have and solving the mystery…but it is all the better for it. This is a great story with a talented cast that really bring it to life with a sense of fun and adventure throughout. There are a number of surprising twists and turns in the film that make this more than a simple “monster flick” and largely staying away from cliché…I say “largely” because we do still have the geeky kids which seems now to have pretty much been done to death.

This is an early Abrams film, JAST but BSW (just after Star Trek but before Star Wars) which really shows his incredible talent as a director, keeping the audience in the film at all times, for example by only ever showing tantalizing glimpses of the mysterious creature, never mind scene after scene of tremendous action. The special effects are simply amazing and the dynamism of the filming is incredible.

Fun and exciting action flick from a master of modern blockbuster cinema.

P.S. Be sure not to miss the final film created by the friends, played over the end credits.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-02-26

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2011

Length: 112 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by J.J. Abrams: