Not much was known about â€œSuper 8â€ before its release, other than its impressive trailer and the fact that it was the latest movie from sci-fi visionary J.J. Abrams.
Abrams, the creator of â€œLostâ€ and the director of â€œStar Trek,â€ is known for keeping tight-lipped about his projects, and for good reason. The man is a genius.
He has teamed up with producer Steven Spielberg to create â€œSuper 8,â€ a shining example of what a summer blockbuster should aspire to be.
The movie follows a group of kids in 1979 Ohio in their epic quest to make a zombie movie filmed on a Super 8 camera.
During one of the shoots, the kids witness a train crash with supernatural implications that turns their small town upside down.
â€œSuper 8â€ is a perfect tribute to classic science fiction — the most obvious connection is to Spielbergâ€™s own â€œE.T.â€ — while still showing off Abramsâ€™ visual style.
Abrams shot â€œSuper 8,â€ as he did â€œStar Trek,â€ with an Anamorphic Lens, which allows images to become naturally distorted and light to create a flare effect when shot directly into the camera. The lens flare effect is now an Abrams trademark and is utilized in â€œSuper 8â€ to instill an otherworldly presenceâ€”and to look cool.
While it is a science fiction movie, â€œSuper 8â€ is primarily the story of a group of friends trying to make a zombie movie. The kids, led by Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, whose actions are influenced by the childhood of Abrams and Spielberg, deliver authentic performances that never feel overdone.
They are funny, brave, a little annoying and truly care about completing their home movie, just like any other group of kids would.
That, rather than the story of the train crash, is the moving force of â€œSuper 8â€ and the reason why the audience cares about the movie at all.
The film strikes a surprisingly emotional chord for a movie that is supposed to be one of the biggest science fiction blockbusters of the summer, but it feels like it hits all the right notes.
â€œSuper 8â€ is truly a benchmark for all other summer blockbusters and an excellent addition to Abramsâ€™ collection.
Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg.