With the name Spielberg attached to it, one can’t help but make comparisons to his big hit of the 80’s, ET. Although both movies are about young people and aliens that is where the similarities stop. This alien isn’t nearly as endearing and lovable as ET. There is one scene where the alien appears to make an emotional connection with the young hero but that moment is only in passing.
It is good to see Kyle Chandler (or Coach Taylor for Friday Night Lights fans) take on a leading role. He is excellent portraying macho gruffness hiding a hurt and vulnerable human being. He is so preoccupied with running the town in the unexplained absence of the sheriff and coping with growing hysteria that he doesn’t notice his son is sneaking out at nights to participate in the making of a home movie about zombies. While filming a night scene for an amateur movie contest, they capture a train wreck by lucky coincidence. The repercussions of the wreck and its mysterious cargo will keep you on the edge of your seat the rest of the movie.
But, the real heroes of the movie are the young teens with little or no acting experience behind them. It is a testament to Abrams and Spielberg’s genius that they are able to build a whole movie around such inexperienced actors. The only one of the young actors with much experience is Elle Fanning (sister of Dakota Fanning) who plays the innocent heroine of the zombie movie.
I usually hate horror and monster movies because I don’t like blood, gore, and slime; and things that jump out at me. This movie does not rely on those cheap tricks but actually has a good story behind it. The alien is only seen as a quick movement on screen leaving more to the imagination until the climax of the movie when we finally see the arachnid species. The two masters of super natural intrigue have teamed up to write and produce what I predict will become a classic. How can you miss with Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, one of the creators of Lost, behind it? Super 8 is written and directed by Abrams and produced by Spielberg and has all of the sci-fi mystery and nostalgia associated with both men.
I predict big things for this movie in the future. I give it an A.