SUPER 8 is guaranteed to be one of the hit movies of the summer, if not the year.
Its director JJ Abrams is clearly a fan of Steven Speilberg, who produces the film – so what could go wrong?
His admiration is clear in the way he has created a film which mirrors the kind of blockbusters Speilberg was making decades ago and millions of us have seen.
It’s a feel good family film with excitement and suspense. Fair enough its plot isn’t anything earth shatteringly new but all-in-all it’s a good wholesome family film.
Super 8 is set in a small American town in the 1970s.
It opens with Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), whose mother has just passed away in an industrial accident and his father has to step up to the role of being the lone parent.
Joe copes with his grief by helping his friends who are making a zombie movie for a local film contest on a Super 8 camera.
He is happy to leave the directing to his more confident friend, Charles (Riley Griffiths) while he takes on the role as make-up artist.
The group assembles a small cast and crew including their fire loving pal Cary (Ryan Lee) to supervise the special effects and recruit a leading lady in the form of Alice (Elle Fanning).
When the group are shooting a romantic scene at a railway station, they witness – and accidentally film – a horrific train crash.
Cue one of the most impressive and superbly filmed scenes I have seen in a long while.
The explosive accident involving a military train seems to have been caused by a car that has made its way onto the track.
Only Joe notices that the crash was no accident. In the car is the boys’ science teacher (Glynn Turman), badly injured – who warns to the kids to not to speak of the ‘accident’ or they and their parents will die.
But soon after the crash things in the tiny town start to get very mysterious.
People, not to mention dogs, go missing. Electrical items and car engines start playing up and disappearing.
Even the sheriff disappears after an incident at a petrol station, forcing Jo’s dad, who is deputy, to step up and start investigating.
But from the start he is hampered by the arrival of the US Air Force, led by Colonel Nelec. He arrives on the scene not to try and find out what happened and clean up the train crash debris, but to lead a massive cover-up that eventually sees them evacuating the town.
The film does brilliantly in creating suspense and leaves the audience guessing at what is causing all the mayhem right up until near the end.
It offers a proper story rather than just some action-packed film which has bags of special effects and CGI but little substance.
The young cast in the film are brilliant and I’m sure many have glittering Hollywood careers ahead of them.
There is bickering, name calling and attempts to impress each other.
In one scene, the film perfectly captures the group dynamics of the youngsters when they are sat in a restaurant together and one of them orders a coffee to try and look sophisticated.
Don’t get me wrong the film has it’s fair share of special effects and is what you would expect from a multi-million pound blockbuster, but it also has a story which makes you care about the characters and what happens to them.
A note to anyone going to watch it, stay until the very end and watch the credits – one of the best bits of the film!
by Sam Chetwynd