A film the way films used to be!
Much has been made of Super 8’s homage-flavour to Steven Spielberg’s E.T. and The Goonies in particular, and on viewing it’s easy to see why. Super 8 is coloured with the same nostalgic glow of childhood past – it’s set in 1979 and it looks it, feels it even. The story is simple and sweet, about those old themes of growing up and the changing perspectives which that brings, all set against the backdrop of an alien attack – again, very Spielbergian.
The five kids around whom the film revolves, are brilliantly cast and played – combining innocence and fledgling awareness with the nous to save the world just in time, believably. Joel Courtney who plays Joe Lamb – a boy still grieving for his recently deceased mother, and Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard are particularly good, bearing much of the emotional weight of the film with a subtle naturalness that makes for easy watching.
Perhaps where Super 8 shines is that it manages to bring these slightly old-fashioned story and design ideas bang up to date – literally. The train crash is spectacular – even not in 3D I was still flinching back away from the screen as explosions send shrapnel screaming through the air and fire blossoms up between swirling dust and smoke. The alien itself is also very modern, although the creature gets very little screen time when we do finally see it, it doesn’t disappoint. Super 8 looks like a 70s film yet feels perfectly modern. It doesn’t break any new ground but what it does is so well done, that you won’t care. Sit back and simply enjoy the ride, remembering all the films you watched and loved growing up.