Drawing inspiration from suburban kid movies of the early ‘80s, this Spielbergian production has the sentiment of E.T. and the rascally camaraderie of The Goonies. But don’t expect it to appeal too much to adult nostalgia. Despite dabbling with the scares, it’s really for kids or young teens (who will love it) and everyone else might have the feeling they’ve seen it all before. More
None of which negates the classy production value and clanging sound design, however. Super 8 is a highly polished outing with plenty of good bits, especially the action set pieces (a massive train pile-up early on is grandly over-the-top), the seamless effects and the music that strikes a balance between ominous and magical.
In true JJ Abrams form (his productions of Lost and Cloverfield kept people guessing for a long time), the reveal of the ‘thing’ that the plot revolves around is kept in shadow or obscured for most of the running time. No prizes for guessing what it turns out to be, although we could run a competition to guess why the film has such a title, given that the characters' home-made film is pretty superfluous to the plot.
A subplot of fractured family dynamics means that too much of the movie plays in heavy-handed sentimental moments, which, when carried by the child actors, are too trite for adults and potentially too morose for the younger ones. Super 8 is likeable, if a little standard, so it will remain open to you to classify it – throwback or retread? Hide