(M) Paramount DVD
Written and directed by Sci-fi loving J.J. Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield, Star Trek), Super 8 is an action packed, humorous adventure, reminiscent of the coming-of-age films from years past. Set in a small town in Ohio, USA during the summer of 1979, the feeling of nostalgia is comfortingly and charmingly present throughout. Producer Steven Spielberg’s influence is written all over this film and there are many comparisons to be made with his classics ET and The Goonies.
The action begins when a group of kids filming their own amateur Super 8 film late one night witness a train crash of epic proportions and become caught up in the mysterious events that follow. The story is centred around earnest, fresh-faced Joe Lamb (played by newcomer Joel Courtney) whose mother’s death has caused a strained relationship with his emotionally distant deputy police officer father, Jackson. Joe and his boyhood friends and the beautiful Alice (played by the always superb Elle Fanning) are on the cusp of losing their childhood innocence but are still holding onto the naivety and euphoria of being kids for one last summer.
The boys are lively and entertaining but verge on irritating at times when they have seemingly been given freedom to run riot. Mostly inexperienced young actors, their enthusiasm spans from endearing to grating. They do however ooze charisma and certainly outshine their bland adult co-stars.
What Super 8 lacks in sophistication it makes up for in boyish charm. Keep an eye out for the kids’ extremely enjoyable zombie short film in the end credits.