SUPER 8 (2011) Review

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler

This was one film that I was waiting to see for a long time. I watched every trailer, every TV spot and the closer it came to the release date, the more excited I got. But then when the movie was finally released in theaters it somehow slipped my mind. In fact I only watched it for the first time today. But it was definitely worth it.
I suppose the best way to describe it would be that it's a mix of E.T, Cloverfield and The Goonies with a little Stand By Me thrown in. Basically the plot revolves around a group of young friends (all male apart from one) who are filming a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera. Everything is going fine until another student from their school Alica Dainard (Elle Fanning) joins their cast and they shoot a scene at the local train station. A train approaches the station and so they decide to use it in their scene. But that's when all of the trouble starts. A truck is seen driving onto onto the tracks and heads straight toward the train, and when they collide the train derails in a massive chain of explosions almost killing the children. When the dust settles, one of the young boys Joe (Joel Courtney) hears a loud banging coming from inside one of the carriages and watches in awe as the heavy steel door is blown right off its hinges. The kids realize that this was no accident, and when the military show up they have to try and unravel a secret more terrifying than any of them could imagine.

There are also a couple of subplots which help add a bit more substance to the film. The death of Joe's mother and the tension between him and his father is one, the other is a fairly run of the mill love story involving Joe and Alice. Not exactly groundbreaking but still interesting and the movie wouldn't be as good without them.

The film is set in Ohio in 1979 and plays a lot like ET, especially in the way it is filmed. The kids are pretty much a carbon copy of The Goonies, complete with the fat kid. The creature that escapes from the train carriage is never really seen clearly, but you still get a fairly good idea what it looks like, just like in Cloverfield.

The acting was good all round but especially from Elle Fanning who seemed to out-act both the kids and adults. I can't say much about the soundtrack since it didn't really seem to stick in my mind, which brings me to the conclusion that it wasn't anything special.

Despite a couple of inconsistencies (a pickup truck derailing a train and causing that much carnage, but still leaving the driver survive is one example) it was a great movie, and definitely one of the highlights of the year for me. Not exactly original, but still definitely worth seeing. And I'd definitely watch it again.

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