With J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) in front of the camera, and Steven Spielberg (Minority Report) in the producer's seat, Super 8 was always going to be interesting. How good it actually turned out to be, is something of a surprise. Not that the project is without talent, yet both Abrams and Spielberg have presented their share of overwrought nonsense: Lost and Indie's Crystal Skull spring to mind. And with a Fanning in the lead, this could have gone either way. But where it did go was somewhere very interesting indeed.

In the late 70's, a group of young friends are making a super-8 zombie movie and unintentionally film a train crash. When a string of inexplicable events trigger their suspicions that it was no accident, local police try to uncover the truth. What they uncover is something altogether more sinister indeed. Here is a film all the hallmarks of early, classic Spielberg: nestled somewhere between Goonies and ET, it's toublesome adults and earnest kids with flashlights caught in a dense mystery with updated effects.

The terrific staging of Super 8, and much of it is extremely well shot, is only half the film. Abrams has crafted a genuinely engaging story that delights in the process of storytelling, not bludgeoning audiences with a sound and light show. There's a style at work here that's almost old-fashioned in its pacing and delivery, consider the thread that involves missing dogs or the edgy relationships between the kids. Although some gears begin to slip toward the end, for the most part Super 8 is a super example of superior film making.

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Elle Fanning
Joel Courtney
Kyle Chandler
Noah Emmerich

J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams


MA / 112 minutes

June 2, 2011
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