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Movie Reviews

Super 8



Released: 10th June 2011

Directed By: J.J Abrams

Starring: Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee

Certificate: 12

Reviewed By: Luke Walkley

The latest summer blockbuster to hit our screens is Super8. Directed by JJ Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Does he really need a filmography?) Super8 is set in a small American town and follows a group of friends who witness a terrible train crash while filming a horror movie at the local train station. Joe (Joel Courtney) is helping his friend Charles complete a movie for a local film competition with the help of their friends and a pretty young girl Alice (Elle Fanning) when he sees a truck drive onto the tracks and head for the passing train. In the aftermath of the train crash a swarm of military personnel descend on the town. As a series of unexplainable incidents begin occurring, Joe’s Dad- the deputy sheriff attempts to find out what is behind the events, at the same time as his son and friends are keeping to themselves what could be the crucial clue.

With a predominantly young cast, Super8 looked an interesting proposition- as with all unknown casts, there is the risk that the film will fall short in its delivery. However the first thing that you will notice from Super 8 is the fantastically high calibre of acting from the young cast. Joel Courtney is flawless as Joe, emotional and completely believable, the chemistry he shares with Elle Fanning’s Alice is as good as any other coupling of Hollywood’s best talents. Not only are the leads fantastic but the supporting cast offer  the lighter side of the dialogue, breaking up the more serious moments by reminding us that they are all just children caught up in something far bigger than they could have imagined. The highlights of which are Riley Griffths as the filmmaker Charles and Ryan Lee as the firework obsessed Cary.

The film will draw instant comparisons to The Goonies and Stand By Me, however rather than be similar to one or the other, t takes the best elements from both to form the final result- Taking the more serious emotional connection of the children from Stand By Me and applying the light-heartedness of The Goonies in manageable doses.

The special effects and cinematography were crucial in ensuring the film was well received and neither fails to impress. JJ Abrams earned a name for himself with the mysterious monster in Cloverfield and it is the mystery of what is causing the unexplained phenomena that draws the viewer in- however it is the visuals that partner the story that really deserve credit-from the train crash to the cause (which surprisingly, is revealed quite early on in the film) the effects are spot on. The sounds used and the feel that the combination of sight and sound creates is quite breathtaking. Beautiful shots of the landscape in both modern format and through the lens of a super8 camera create a unique view of the town.

The throwbacks to the Seventies are rife and I feel that this is one of the reasons the film has been and will be well received. From the camera that gives the film its name- a Super8 to the cars and music used in the film, it has something that appeals to more than one generation.

Super 8 is the definition of the summer blockbuster, filled with great acting and action, it is one of the most immersive cinema experiences in recent years and has a strong plot to match the acting talents on display.
With surprisingly emotional tones, Super 8 is certainly the film to watch not only this summer, but it will surely stand up against the classics and in my eyes- it has become one instantly.

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