How do you fancy an homage to the blockbuster science fiction films of Steven Spielberg, which proves that when imitating greatness, a little of the magic can rub off on a new generation?
With Super 8, JJ ‘Star Trek’ Abrams takes us back to the idyllic summer of 1979 where a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a fun amateur movie.
But here’s the thing – the crash was not an accident and something very nasty has escaped from the wreckage.
Cue unusual disappearances and inexplicable events beginning to take place across the town, as the local populace get involved in some serious close encounters…
The cool cast of kids features the star-crossed crush of average teen Joe (newcomer Joel Courtney) who is the son of the local lawsman and Alice (the beguilingly talented Elle ‘Somewhere’ Fanning), the daughter of the local bad boy.
Their chaste romance feels natural and evokes the feel captured by last year’s Let Me In. These are kids who it is fun just to be around.
Think Goonies mixed with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and, throw in some great references to films from across the genres and you’ve got the winning recipe for a new breed of classic.
With Spielberg producing it is no surprise that the heart strings are so expertly tugged. The set up of young Joe, struggling to come to terms with being left in the custody of his busy dad Jack (Kyle Chandler) after his mother dies, provides the emotional backdrop to the alien monster-em-up action.
The tension is expertly built up at first when the creature is kept mostly unseen – one particular scene of a gas station being attacked shot from behind a big rotating advertisement is a work of cinematic genius.
The alien is revealed before the end and whilst it is nicely realised with good CGi work, it doesn’t quite stand out as a creature that will be remembered as a cinematic icon.
Super 8 is great, it’s pitched at a level which means that it can be enjoyed by a wide audience and it packs in plenty of fun alongside the tension and action scenes.
Don’t leave before the credits, either, because there’s a bonus if you’re patient – a chance to see the whole of the kids’ super 8 zombie movie, which will send you home with a big smile on your face.