I’m finding my opinion of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s collaboration Super 8 a little divided.
Set in the late 1970s, Super 8 follows the perspective of Joe, a young boy who recently lost his mother in a terrible accident, and his father who is Police deputy of their small town. Joe and his friends are making a film for a school competition when they accidentally witness a massive train crash. While Joe struggles with his feelings for a local girl, something otherworldly had escaped from the train wreck and causes chaos throughout the town.
Spielberg and Abrams make a good combination here; Super 8 has a glossy and real look about it, while the entire cast are excellent in their roles. It has been a while since I’ve seen so many child actors on screen and not been irritated by the lack of acting skill, they worked well together.
The divide I spoke of comes in the film’s second act, where we have intensity brewing within the characters, specifically between Joe and his father and between Alice and her father. All great stuff, but juxtaposed with this we have a fifteen foot tall alien tearing up cars, scaring dogs and kidnapping people. It feels a little awkward. Don’t get me wrong, this is way, way better than Abrams’ other alien/monster movie Cloverfield (at least I care about these characters) but even Super 8‘s ending might feel a little too vague and “happily-ever-after” for some people. It ties up the two jarring stories as best it can, but it can feel a little… off.
I enjoyed it well enough; acting was great, visual effects were not overused and well done, a focus on characters but kept things simple and straight forward (a nice running time of under two hours!) so I’d give it a watch.