E.T. call home … and sure indeed, E.T. did call home. After befriending humans and escaping menacing men in black, he did enjoy his stay in our planet, drank pop, watched daytime TV, got a to ride on a bike and accomplished a pretty wholesome existence in suburbia … before his final departure home.
This time around, suburbia is Lillian, Ohio and the alien is not only not adorable but no longer portable. And, surprise, surprise, the government still does not know how to handle the situation and as the beat goes on, it takes a few good men-in-the-making to work out diplomacy magic and do the job that men in black don’t seem capable of doing, pero wait a minute, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This movie could have easily been titled something other than a title that suggests something out of a snuff vault. In fact, this movie could have also been titled: My Most Excellent Summer Adventure! Director J.J. Abrams has delivered his first born as a director-writer and it’s definitely a cool entertainment pinata, which fully succeeds in capturing the wonders of childhood in the face of loss, pain and upheaval.
At the brink of teenagerdoom, Joe Lamb (soulful newcomer Joel Courtney) has been dealt a bad card in life. His mother has just been crushed to death at work (did it had to be this gruesome?) and his distant, workaholic dad (Kyle Chandler) wants him to stop his filmmaking ventures. But Joe is already a mini Guillermo del Toro, he knows a whole lot about special effects makeup and really loves the monster genre. He also knows a lot about trains…
Not wanting to disappoint his friends, after some walkie-talkie coordination with his buddy and neighbor Charles (Riley Griffiths), Joe sneaks out in the middle of the night to help Charles and his crew finish their zombie Super-8 movie, titled The Case. While filming at a nearby train station – boy, that incoming train could not have arrived at a better time, talk about production values – they accidentally witness a catastrophic train crash. But was it really an accident?
After all, the kids were there and did see enough to know that things really don’t add up. Why did that white pickup drive straight into the train? What was inside that train box? Why is the military crawling all over the place? Where are all the missing people, including the Sheriff? Why did the dogs leave? So many questions and only 5 boys to solve this riddle… But at least love, that wonderful weapon, is in the air … because our boy Joe is totally enamorado of the leading lady their zombie flick, the gorgeous older woman, 14 year-old Alice (Elle Fanning, who definitely has superior genes).
All these questions will be answered in subtle and memorable of ways. The no-stars cast is terrific and the kids are spot on and although we have seen this before – “Super 8″ is a cousin of “Stand by Me,” the stepchild of “The Goonies” and the legitimate progeny of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial- you would not want it any other way. It’s all in the familia, so to speak. And this is a beautiful thing.
“Super 8″ is the real deal: an old-fashioned tale and a fantastically creepy story that relies on solid acting and terrific story telling. I know, I know … this is a rarity in the summer, but heck, maybe we can get lucky from time to time and not have to wait until fall for good entertainment.
“Super 8″ looks and feels and sounds like an expensive movie and let’s just remember that money a good movie does not make, but this IS a very good film. “Super 8″ is the real deal: an old-fashioned tale and a fantastically creepy story that relies on solid acting and terrific story telling. Imagine that for a Summer Blockbuster! And you know what, it was about time you took care of that kid inside of you…
Cast: Kyle Chandler (Jackson Lamb); Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard); Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb); Gabriel Basso (Martin); Noah Emmerich (Nelec); Ron Eldard (Louis Dainard); Riley Griffiths (Charles); Ryan Lee (Cary); Zach Mills (Preston)
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence and some drug use)Credits: Written and directed by J.J. Abrams; produced by Steven Spielberg, Abrams and Bryan Burk. A Paramount Pictures release. Running time: 1:52