June 15, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
Writer/director J.J. Abrams adds another good movie to his résumé with sci-fi mystery-thriller Super 8. While the action and special effects may not be as explosive as in his previous films Cloverfield and the Star Trek reboot, the acting is excellent all around, impressive considering the cast is mostly made up of unknowns. All I know is one of them is Dakota Fanning’s sister, who proves that acting is definitely an inherent part of her family’s genes. Producer Steven Spielberg’s influence is also apparent as Abrams shows off his mastery of being a raconteur in the genre.
The similarities to Abrams’ co-created hit show Lost don’t stop there though. The emotional human stories hit as hard as Super 8‘s spectacular train crash, and they’re complemented by another one of Oscar/Emmy/Grammy-winner Michael Giacchino’s beautiful scores. In both cases, the focus on the journey comes at the cost of a potentially disappointing letdown at the end. Personally, I was OK with Lost‘s polarizing finale, but I wasn’t as satisfied with Super 8‘s.
You can come up with your own verdict for Super 8, which has plenty of edge-of-your-seat thrills and down-to-earth chuckles throughout. You would think that Abrams’ first original film project, rooted in sci-fi mystery, would have had more viral marketing like Cloverfield did, and perhaps the biggest clue you’ll find is the trailer’s music.
But even that doesn’t give much away because Super 8 is all about the summer ride you will have committed to for a couple of hours. Just make sure you stick around during the credits for the manifestation of the in-film microcosm. Super 8 gets 3 out of 5 stars or B- or Good.