Super 8 ~ I never cared much for “Lost,” and Cloverfield could have been so much more than it was, so I was understandably nonplussed when I first heard of Super 8. But, I loved J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek, and even thought it was one of the best flicks of the year it came out. The idea of a movie written and directed by Abrams yet produced by Steven Spielberg intrigued me however, especially when preliminary trailers made it look like some sort of mish-mosh of E.T., Close Encounters, and Cloverfield.
If it needs to be compared to any movie however, it’s more in line with Stand By Me, or even closer to the more obscure, yet so entertaining Matinee. Super 8 is in many ways a walk down memory lane, and not just in the way it’s a period piece set in the early 1980s or late 1970s, although that illusion is ruined with pinpoint accuracy by a Walter Cronkite TV broadcast about Three Mile Island. After that, any pop culture reference post TMI pulled me out of the flick.
Super 8 is also a time capsule in that takes us back to our early teens and that period between playing with our buds and thinking about girls. It’s a bittersweet teen romance mixed with a family drama – and oh yeah, there’s a monster too. But the drama is very good, so much so that at one point, my eyes welled up. The monster sadly, when we finally see it, is of the Cloverfield type, and also of the variety that showed up for a cameo in Star Trek. It makes me wonder if J.J. Abrams can only do ugly, rarely seen monsters with weirdly opening jaws.
The flick is so much better however than I ever would have guessed going in. There was expectation, and Super 8 far exceeded it. Recommended.