Among all the 3D super hero blockbuster violence of late, there is: Super 8. A science fiction drama created by J.J. Abrams perhaps best known for creating Lost, Cloverfield, and the most recent Star Trek installment. Good science fiction does not revolve around using impossible physics and technology just for the sake of it, but rather: using these as backdrop in stories about the human condition. Does Super 8 succeed in this regard, or is it just a special effects extravaganza?
Joe lost his mother in an accident and now lives alone with his father: deputy Jackson. The deputy does not appreciate that his son hangs around with his film making friend Charles. Nevertheless, Joe, Charles, and other friends continue making their zombie movie together. The title of the movie is a reference to the 8mm film they use. If you want to see the end result of their movie project: be sure to stick around after the credits start to roll. Super 8 starts with building a good back story and carving out plausible characters. Things start getting fishy after a train derails while they are filming. Although somewhat over the top, the excellent cinematography and sound mixing makes this part both enjoyable and startling. However, effects aside: It is really the acting talent of the youngsters that carries most of the movie. All of them are well cast and play their roles to near perfection.
Steven Spielberg was involved as producer and his signature is clearly visible in some of the story telling: a good mix of light hearted scenes and typical young folk banter combined with suggestive science fiction elements leading up to a grand finale. The movie conveys the feeling of being young and exploring the world very well which aids in pulling the viewer into the story. I do not want to give too much away, but Super 8 contains elements of both Lost and Cloverfield. The pacing is excellent throughout, although more reminiscent of typical drama than typical science fiction. There are some key emotional scenes which could have been made more believable, and perhaps some parts contain too much touch of Spielberg’s early movies. Nevertheless, Super 8 is an enjoyable ride for science fiction lovers, but perhaps a bit too slow for the typical popcorn crowd. For those that are not afraid of depth: this is a movie that actually dares to tell a story instead of resorting to screaming computer generated imagery and contrived cardboard characters. Recommended!