Super 8 (2011)



One of last summers mega hit films (It grossed 250 million on a budget of approximately 50 million), Super 8 was the brain child of two of the largest driving forces of American cinema over the last 40 years. J.J. Abrams, who guided the tremendous Star Trek reboot, paired with film making icon Steven Spielberg (E.T., Indiana Jones) to produce an epic ode to all the films we grew up loving as children.

Set in suburban Ohio during the simmer of 1979, the title Super 8 eludes to the camera and film stock used by a group of 12 and thirteen year old kids to film their own low budget zombie flick. Out late one night, shooting in secret at an old train station, a horrible accident occurs causing a passing military train to derail. Barely surviving, and still trying to piece together what has happened, they decide to develop the film left in the camera from that horrible night. What discover find will change their lives forever.

Before the kids can process what they've been through, the military, the air force in this case, move into the town lock stock and barrel. It's clear they are looking for something they've lost during the wreck, what? That's when things start to get weird. Suddenly, no mechanical instrument is safe. Car engines, microwaves and the like - all vanish without a trace in the dead of night. As the group of kids begin to investigate the strange happenings and correlate them with what is on their film, they find they are on a collision course with the Air Force and it's own brand of justice.

As an adult it's easy for us to look back through rose colored glasses and remember the movies we loved growing up and forgiving them for the pock marks that may dot their landscapes. Those are the same glasses you need to view Super 8 with. Is the fact that the "subterranean" creature is building something a top the water tower any less believable that the fact that One Eyed Willies pirate ship still floats after 200 years? Is it a little cheesy that a child is the only one who can effectively communicate with a savage beast? Yes, but do you also think it was cheesy when Chunk did it to Sloth in Goonies? No, not really. That's the same vain in which the film needs to be taken.

Abrams and Spielberg combine to produce a film that, although set in Ohio, really exists in our minds when we were younger. It's a movie that, despite some annoying generic modern day cliches, (Does every movie about kids these days need to have at least one of the kids come from a shitty household?) depicts a more innocent time in America where snark hadn't over run popular culture. Where it's o.k. to look past some gaping plot holes to get to the core of what is really just an innocent, fun, feel good adventure story.

**** stars out of *****

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