Super 8
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use)
Directed By
J.J. Abrams
Run Time
1 hour 52 minutes
Cast
Joel Courtney, Jessica Tuck, Joel McKinnon Miller, Ryan Lee
Theatre Release
June 10, 2011 by Bad Robot/Amblin Entertainment

Super 8 could be called many things: thriller, science-fiction, action-adventure, comedy, mystery, etc. But maybe more than anything, it is a ghost of blockbusters past—especially the past of co-producer Steven Spielberg.

Working families jostle and argue in hectic meal-time scenes reminiscent of E.T. Adolescent boys banter and heckle one another—all talking at the same time—like a certain group of Goonies. The military mysteriously pokes around town as residents process close encounters they cannot understand. Even the light shimmers and flares in a Spielberg-ian way.

Oh, the nostalgia. But luckily, it's more than just that. Spielberg and adventure movies of the late '70s/early '80s are channeled not just in appearance but in tone, storytelling and—most importantly—heart by director and writer J.J. Abrams (director of Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek, producer of Cloverfield, creator of Alias and Lost). You're gonna need a bigger boat for all the clever Spielberg homages, genre conventions, and Abrams' retro-style filmmaking. The result? A surprisingly fresh and rich character-based adventure full of roller-coaster thrills, genuine scares, hearty laughs and touching moments. This could be many filmgoers' favorite movie of the year—and it will certainly be one of 2011's most fun.

In 1979, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and five middle-school friends are filling the long summer days in their Ohio steel town by making a zombie movie for a film festival. Filming on location late one night, this new group of goonies witness a catastrophic train crash. Strange discoveries at the wreck lead them to believe it was no mistake. Soon, common genre movie conventions start cropping up: dogs run away, ...

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