J. J. Abrams has captured the year 1979 in the much anticipated “Super 8” in exactly the same way that Rob Reiner did for members of his generation in “Stand By Me”. This buddy film featuring a largely unknown cast of young teens has everything a Summer Movie would wish for: a healthy dose of nostalgia, first crushes, wildly inventive action, and a malevolent force tantalizingly revealed right up to the big finale. The fictional town of Lillian, Ohio is the home to a group of semi-nerdy fledgling filmmakers, whose Super 8 attempt at Film Noir is explosively disrupted by the derailment of an Air Force train carrying super secret cargo. Abrams has painstakingly recreated the world of his youth (remember Testors Brand model paint and the joy of having your first Walkman?). The movie is a coming of age story of Joe (a very good Joel Courtney) and his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths). They are aided by a few other well cast teens who provide some comic relief, and there’s also the new object of Joe’s affection, Alice (Elle Fanning, who has a few scenes showing the great acting chops that bode well for her film future). Stephen Spielberg, producer and mentor to Abrams, has obviously shared his secrets for wrangling fine performances out of young characters in danger and the cast has risen to the challenge. The effects are outstanding and, in conjunction with the recently released “X-Men: First Class”, the battle for Summer Box Office dominance has begun with a very effective One-two punch.
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci -fi action and violence and some drug use.
My GPA Rating: 3.9