Film Grade : A-
I don’t know why Super 8 hasn’t received too much buzz this summer. Maybe people are tired of Speilberg aliens. Whatever the reason, the preconceptions about this movie – totally wrong.
The title doesn’t exactly give you a hint of the plot, so let me give you a rundown: a group of middle school-aged kids, who are into shooting super 8 films, happen to be in the wrong place when a train derails before their eyes, releasing an alien into their town. There's also suspenseful subplots about the alien research, why it was in a train, and why it crashed.
The plot itself was overall good. I was thanking God in heaven that it wasn’t your typical alien movie. The kind where they invade, obliterate everything that lives, and then leave. There was a point to it. It’s great, classic story-telling, where it could have easily been all about the action. The real heart of the story holding everything together was the relationship between the father, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler), and son, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney). You care about their relationship and what happens to them because it's relatable.
Other actors in the film include Elle Fanning, who was breathtaking as Alice Dainard, Joe's love interest/friend. She showed all the heart necessary for her character, while still acting her age in the innocent romance. She definitely has the same acting chops Dakota has. Joe’s friends were also well cast, as their dialogue easily bounced off each other like they were siblings. Chemistry - believable.
The monster wasn’t overdone, as it well could have been. It looked CGI for sure, but it didn’t look ridiculous, as in Battle LA. It was similar to Signs in how it waited for a long time to show itself, to build suspense. It worked.
Some critics said this movie is the one to beat for the summer – and so far, none of the blockbusters I’ve seen have beat it. It’s got everything – a pure, generally wholesome, heart-filled storyline; great acting, suspense, jumps, tear-jerking moments, an innocent romance, relatable family issues, everyday friendship issues, and an awesome script. And morally, there isn’t a whole lot of questionable things in this movie, other than the kids’ language.
Don't let the alien genre scare you away, Super 8 is worth your watching. Great, pure storytelling, for a change.