I saw Super 8 this afternoon and walked out of the theater a satisfied moviegoer. The thing I noticed most about the movie is that it doesn’t hide its influences but wears them proudly on its proverbial sleeve. I saw elements of E.T., Jaws, a dash of Close Encounters, Goonies and even saw some Explorers in there which made me quite happy. There were a few shout outs to other things, the biggest one that stuck out was the nod to George Romero. All these things were really great to see in a movie for someone who is a big geek like myself but all that doesn’t necessarily always make a movie good. So the question is.. does Super 8 stand on its own apart from its influences? I’d say that it does.
The movie has a few flaws but they are pretty minor and don’t take away from the experience and therefore not really worth mentioning. The cast of characters are pretty well drawn and quite nicely acted. For me, anytime the focus moved away from the kids and was on the military or the creature, I really wanted them to go right back to the kids as they are where I had the most fun with the movie. Fortunately for me, the kids are pretty much the focus of the movie. There is some pretty hilarious stuff surrounding their personalities and the way they deal with the situation they are in. I really liked the budding romance between the characters played by Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney. It really worked for me and I found it to be the heart of the movie. Elle Fanning herself is quite a good actress in her own right. She perfectly played her role and brought a lot of nuance to her character. It seems the acting gene is a prominent one in the Fanning family.
So overall, Super 8 was a really fun time and a great throwback to the Amblin age of movies. It’s funny and heartfelt, easily recommendable to anyone who just wants to have a good time or are feeling nostalgic and it is a must see for film fans. I could easily see this movie being one of those films that I like to throw in the blu-ray player and remember how cool it was to be a kid.