Title: Super 8
Director: JJ Abrams
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Starring:Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb), Kyle Chandler (Jackson Lamb), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Riley Griffiths (Charles), Ryan Lee (Cary), Gabriel Basso (Martin)
Runtime: 112 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Reney's Score: 75%
Super 8 uses a technique made famous by the mother of all alien films, Alien, and that is never to do a full frontal of the alien, not to zoom in on every fang and all the dripping gore. What you don’t see, what your own imagination comes up with, is way scarier than what JJ Abrahams and crew can conjure up. Who can forget the scene in Alien where you see a crew member, and a cat lover at that, being murdered in the reflection of his own cat’s eye?
Throw in a tragic back story, a good script, All-American-wholesome-looking actors, Blondie as part of the soundtrack and unbelievable styling and you’re done – you’re glued to the screen.
In a nutshell
Super 8 is essentially ET with a couple of twists. An alien is on the loose and a couple of kids, some “goodie” adults and some “baddie” adults are in pursuit. And all the alien wants to do is go home! I told you.
Mood of the film
You do sit on the edge of your seat most of the time, but as Stephen Spielberg is involved, you kinda know what to expect around the next corner. You’re gonna jump, but not lose control of your bodily functions or run out of the cinema screaming. (Which I nearly did with the awesome No Country for Old Men.)
A few one-liners among the young boys offer some comic relief and Elle Fanning supplies all of the depth.
This is not really the best one-liner, but it portrays the general gist of the Super 8 teenage banter. The slightly round-figured Charles eats fries ordered by Cary, the smallest amongst them.
Cary: Excuse me, can I have another order of fries? Because my friend here is fat.
Charles: At least I don't need a booster seat.
Mark my words, Elle Fanning – yes, younger sister to Dakota – is going places. I have seldom seen such emotional intelligence and presence in a child actor. She steals the film!
Most powerful scene
It is not a monster scene, I will have you know. Alice sneaks into Jo’s room at night. They sit on the floor in the dark as the power is out and chat. The power comes on and so does Jo’s 8 mm projector. It shows home movies of his mom. He wants to switch it off. She says no. They watch together. Alice reveals something very important to the young Jo and her delivery is mind-blowing.
The story ain’t too original. Young boy’s mother dies. An alien needs to destroy his hometown before he can bond with his dad. And of course he saves the day and, yes, bonds with his dad.
At least Wikus (D9) went from dorky corporate puppet to desperate half-human, half-alien, to secret army weapon, to brave sole and then lone alien waiting for a better day. Exciting stuff!
What makes the film relevant today?
It is good clean fun for everyone over 13 years old.
Abrahams called the town where the film is set Lillian, after his grandmother.