"Super 8" isn't a perfect movie -- really, no movie is -- but for my money, it's pretty darn close. J.J. Abrams has lovingly crafted the exact kind of summer blockbuster you wish you could see more often these days : plenty of action, one hell of a train crash (trust me, the trailers and commercials don't do the real disaster justice), and a whole lot of heart.
There's a lot of mystery surrounding the new Amblin Entertainment movie, yes, so I'll do my best not to spoil any of the big surprises for you. But for now, I don't think it's spoiling anything to say this: cheesy as it sounds, "Super 8" really is (wait for it) super great. Check out five reasons you need to see this movie past the jump.
The Nostalgia Factor
The comparisons to "E.T.," "The Goonies" and other Spielberg-approved movies of yesteryear are more than fair. From plot and premise to performances and execution to its very heart and soul, "Super 8" feels like a movie that was made 30 years ago, today, if that makes sense. This is a deeply personal effort for Abrams, who's quite clearly digging back to his childhood roots as a filmmaker and coming back out of the hole with some great new stuff. By necessity, "Super 8" is a movie that's always looking back -- but it doesn't do so at the expense of barreling forward.
The kids of "Super 8" absolutely steal the show. Joel Courtney is perfect as doe-eyed protagonist Joe Lamb, delivering a character that's one part Mikey Walsh, one part Elliot, and several parts of... well, himself. He's a great character surrounded by equally memorable children, the kinds of kids I expect many of you found yourselves hanging around with in grade school. (Or maybe that's just me.) Oh, and Elle Fanning -- if you don't fall in love with her (in the non-creepy way) during the train scene, well, perhaps you just don't have a heart. The young lady has a fantastic career ahead of herself.
Though the kids are the central focus of "Super 8," this is also the story of Jack Lamb, the deputy with the weight of his town and his family on his shoulders (perhaps in that order, at least to start) played by Kyle Chandler, late of the excellent "Friday Night Lights." While the story doesn't always serve the character -- indeed, his arc is probably the one I found most problematic -- the nuanced performance that Chandler gives as Jack is really something to behold. To put it crudely, Chandler acts the crap out of "Super 8." If this guy isn't a consistent big-screen leading man over the next several years, then Hollywood casting agents simply aren't doing their jobs right.
No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. No, I'm not going to tell you what it wants. While I'm not sure that the complete veil of secrecy shrouded over the "Super 8" antagonist is entirely necessary, there's no question that this thing works best in bits and pieces -- not just in terms of marketing, but within the movie itself. That said, when you do see what's plaguing this quaint Ohio town... well, for me, it did not disappoint.
Trust me, I do not say this lightly: "Super 8" has the best credits sequence I've ever seen in any movie. Stick around. You do not want to miss it. If you really need to know why, watch the video below -- the cast will explain everything. But it goes without saying... SPOILERS ahead!
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