Review: Super 8

THE SETUP: A group of small town kids take their super 8 camera to film an amateur zombie flick only to catch the release of something alien. A military cover-up and weird puberty feelings can only last so long as people start disappearing.

If you grew up in the 80s, you’ll understand the vibe director J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are trying to revisit – kids getting into horrific or fantastic situations while coming to turns with who they are as people. The 80s were littered with this (Goonies, Stand By Me, Monster Squad, etc.) and the attempt to recapture that is appreciated…though maybe not as affective.   If this movie had been made 25 years ago, it would have been a huge hit but now, with audiences and kids more sophisticated (re: jaded), it doesn’t hit the nostalgia mark or the heart strings. The kids do a great job with really only the two leads – Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney with anything to do. The small town cop and head dad played by Kyle Chandler stands out as the a man coming to terms with his wife’s death, raising a son he doesn’t know and dealing with the responsibility of managing the fears of a whole town. He was great in TV’s Friday Night Lights and he continues that path. But really, it is an alien movie so how did that go. Good, but nothing we haven’t seen before and you’ll see serious shades of CLOVERFIELD in the alien design. It’ll scare little kids and mildly entertain adults.

SUPER 8 Rating:
2 stars
– it’s a renter. Good but not great. Cute but not emotionally connecting. A movie that tries to honour 80s movies but really just comes off as dated. Good renter.

Random Recommendations
Goonies (1985) – Steven Spielberg, Christopher Columbus, Richard Donner, Chunk and the truffle shuffle. A powerhouse of talent brought this fun movie about a group of kids off to find buried treasure. Heavy on the nostalgia but still holds up well for first time viewers.

Monster Squad (1987) – When I first saw this as a little kid, I absolutely loved it. As an adult, jury is still out. But the premise of a bunch of kids fighting Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster is pure geek gold (and better than Van Helsing).

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