J.J. Abrams proves that he has a knack when it comes to writing, directing and producing science fiction films and continues with his latest feature “Super 8.”
As opposed to turning to a cast of all stars, he goes back and casts unknown in this small-town tale of a city caught between the mysteries of the federal government.
The film has a lot with his previous film “Cloverfield” in terms of being declared a disaster movie: a cataclysmic collision between a truck and train holding the government’s shipment, people and animals go missing and the lights go eschew.
With the town sheriff missing, it’s up to Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) to handle the citizen’s outcries and inquiries. He also must deal with the establishment, led by Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich) whom swarms the small town with his armed men and technology proving the material in that container is more than what it appears to be.
Mr. Chandler is also a recent widow to an only son, Joe (Joel Courtney), after the family goes through dark times after losing the matriarch of the family due to unspecified incident at a steel mill plant where she worked.
Joe still has a longing and a heavy heart for his mother, and finds normality in being the makeup, special effects and sound effects guy to his friend, Charles (Riley Griffiths), who serves as the director and writer of their film. The end results of the group of friend’s project over the course of that unforgettable summer comes to fruition during the film credits.
Making things difficult for young Joe is that his friend Charles wants to hire Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), whose father, Louis (Ron Eldard) is blamed for the Lamb’s mother death.
Ms. Fanning shows that she’s the star amongst boys exemplified during one midnight shooting at the train tracks showing her maturity, professionalism and a possible long career in the film industry. Besides show her acting abilities, she also conveys emotional scenes during an intimate scene that she shares with Mr. Courtney.
While on location, the film captures the trash crash caused by Dr. Woodward (Glynn Turman). The events recorded on film and witnessed by the audience is in amazement has things begin to slowdown as debris catapults all over the place and the destruction and mayhem that ensues serves as one of many great effects.
Being an Abram’s film, he teases the audience with victims being dragged to their end, heightened tension and brief glimpses of the unforeseen force. The film can find its inspiration in Steven Spielberg who wrote the script for “The Goonies.” Here he serves as an executive producer for the film.
The theme of an unforgettable summer shared by youngster working on a film for a film festival shows the strength of friendship and what they must endure as they are forced to grow up and take command of the situation when their town is taken over.
Also mentions of the Soviet at hand and of the incident at Three Mile Island serves as historical background in the people’s explanation of the events and adds to the tension and paranoia once the government comes rolling in and taking control of the situation.
The film also features forbidden young love Joe and Alice blossoming from strangers to individuals that care for one another in attempts to let go of the incidents of the past – no matter how hard and traumatic it may be.
In regards to being an iconic or a cult classic, the unforeseen entity relates more to Mr. Abrams’ vision as opposed to being kid friendly of Mr. Spielberg. Kids will be kids in their profanity and romantic tension, but when it all comes down the film is nothing unforgettable and more of an homage to the family science fiction of the past.
Classification: New Release DVD
Movie Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.
J.J. Abrams continues his streak in the realm of science fiction film in going back with a lesser unknown cast of talent as he focuses on a group of kid’s unforgettable summer.
DVD Grade: 4 stars out of 5 stars
· Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Executive Producer Bryan Burk and Director of Photography Larry Fong.
· The Dream behind “Super 8”: Features Mr. Abrams along with the crew’s childhood footages of their 8mm films includes Steven Spielberg and the backgrounds of the film.
· The Visitor Live: Design of the unforeseen.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Timing: 1 Hour, 52 Minutes
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
· Director & Writer: J.J. Abrams
· Actors: Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard and Glynn Turman.