This week I’m taking a look at the combined efforts of television gods, Stephen Spielberg and J. J. Abrams which is Super 8. A science-fiction, thriller-eque, mystery film that has lots of elements that can appeal to everybody.
The simplicity of the posters is something that surprised me when first looking at the film, but I actually really like the understated look because it puts so much more emphasis on the producer and director. After all, the film doesn’t really have any big stars to draw in the audiences, but the skills of these two fabulous guys for me mean they weren’t needed at all and they manage to produce an exciting, engaging film without blockbuster stars.
Super 8 focuses on a American community with a gang of teen friends wanting to create a movie for a competition. It starts out with them sneaking out at night to film as they get the help of a girl from outside the guy gang to help them and drive.
However things go wrong at the train station and the train crashes when a professor drives his car into the train and an explosion occurs. From then out things begin to change and a military invasion puts the town on alert and the deputy Sherriff in a torn position.
What made Super 8 really spectacular for me was the focus on this group of teenagers who were working together but also managed to show different sides from the rather crazy kid who liked fire and explosions (the boy on the far left) to the bossy, demanding leader who was the film “director” (boy in the yellow left). Then when we throw in the deputy’s son Joe (blue coat, right), and the slightly geeky, but wussy boy (orange coat, far right). Then we add in a girl to the mix to cause more tensions and arguments between friends and family troubles which only spices things up and adds another layer to the story that makes it more than just science-fiction.
One of my favourite relationships was between Joe and Alice who is played by Dakota Fanning’s younger sister. Elle Fanning. Looking on now, I can recognise the similarities between those two which I didn’t think of at the time of watching. However Alice and Joe both lived alone with their fathers whilst Joe’s mother had died and Alice’s mother had abandoned her and her father. These two certainly grew on me and they connected with each other. It was a rather cute romance and friendship brewing between the two as you could see the genuine care they held for each other. However their relationship was surrounded with the mystery of their father’s hate for each other which was serving to drive them apart. However the parental dynamic did add yet another layer to relationships and plot twists that rounded the whole plot line off nicely.
In terms of the science-fiction element, I could definitely see the touches on J. J. Abrams on the whole plot and mystery because he never likes to reveal anything too soon and that certainly occurs here! However it adds to the mystery and builds up the suspense to keep you entertained as there is plenty of action going on in the meantime and nothing to be bored about.
I found that the science-fiction wasn’t too complex and could be appealing to both people who are science-fiction fans and those who are less interested. It does certainly touch on aliens and you do need to follow the plot to keep up, but it’s engaging, and refreshing view on aliens in a slightly different way. In addition to this, the young boy Joe is intelligent and brave and manages to connect with the alien in the story. It reminded me a little bit of a more modern version of E.T.
Super 8 was a fantastic film and lived up and surpassed all my expectations. It was about friendship, forgiveness, romance along with trust, bravery and determination at the centre of the teens life. Finally it wrapped in science-fiction and suspense to build up a great climax and had the good old evil military in there to present the rather suspicious conspiracy theories we all love!