My anticipation for this movie was completely off the scale. There are certain images and sounds and styles that will push everybodies buttons, we call this nostalgia and it's a completely subjective thing, and for me Super 8's trailer did this in a very big way. It called to mind all the great adventure films I grew up on in the 1980s... Explorers, The Goonies, Flight of the Navigator, Gremlins, E.T.; a lot of stuff by guys like Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante. And this is obviously the point behind this film, it's been widely publicised as this kind of experience and the creative team behind it (J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg) have made no secrets about it. So it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But this is my review and I'm here to tell that this was EXACTLY my cup of tea.
Its 1979 and Joe (Joel Courtney) is the son of a small-town deputy sheriff, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler). Joe's mother has recently died in a workplace accident and he or his father haven't dealt with it very well, so Joe spends all his time with his friends. Joe's friend Charles (Riley Griffith) is making an amateur film on a super 8 camera for a local junior filmmaking competition, and they convince a girl from their school, Alice (Elle Fanning) to appear in it. They sneak out one night to do some shooting near a railway line, which puts them in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all hell breaks loose. A military train is intentionally derailed by their schoolteacher (Glynn Turman), causing the release of something large, inhuman and incredibly destructive. Soon the army are crawling all over town whilst a series of weird phenomena beging occuring, and people start going missing.
There's some criticism that Super 8 is fairly predictable once you get to the halfway mark, but I'd argue that some films set out to achieve qualities other than originality. Quite frankly, if the selling point of your film is to pay homage to a certain era of filmmaking then you probably aren't going to be overly concerned with doing something different. Normally I'd say this was a waste of time, but in the case of Super 8 it gets so much right that it's hard to get hung up on things like that. I never felt like I could really see exactly where the film was going (except for maybe one or two emotional beats) and it was just so damn exhilarating and goosebump-y that I didn't care if the monster turned out to be a combination of certain aspects of late 70s and early 80s Americana/sci-fi.
Things that I think felt perfect or incredibly well done...
Anyway, this review is a bit rough as I only saw this film about an hour ago and therefore haven't had as much of a chance to collect my thoughts. I just wanted to say how wonderful it is and if (like me) you're a child of the 1980s then you'll love it.