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Saw JJ Abram’s Super 8 on Thursday. The film starts off with a factory worker setting the “___ days since the last accident” sign back to 1. We soon find out that it was Joel Lamb’s (Joel Courtney) mother who was the poor victim here. This might be a jump for some, but starting off the film with imagery used to lead into the first act of the film is something Steven Spielberg, the producer, has done frequently in his own films. As the film follows Joel and his friends as they shoot an amateur zombie flick under the direction of his friend, Charles (on Super 8 mm film, hence the film’s title), and how they incidentally witness an alien turning loose, those who keep an open eye can see many more of Abram’s shout-outs to Spielberg, not limited to cinematographic style. That’s not to say Abrams doesn’t include his own things, small things like lens flare, online sites that tie into the movie, and motherfucking easter eggs everywhere.
Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t strictly a sci-fi action film. Yes, there is an alien involved, but the film deals primarily with, no duh, the interpersonal conflicts of several of the human characters, much of it rooted in the death of Joel’s mom. The rest of it has to do with Alice (Elle Fanning), the new addition to Charles’s film, and Joel’s crush. Now to put it simply, everyone’s fucking fantastic. And Elle Fanning, holy hell. If anything, she’s one of the best of the cast.
As far as criticism goes, I’m either an inexperienced brat who can’t tell what’s wrong with it, or it’s something not worth criticizing(probably the former). What the naysayers have said of the film tend to focus on the “disappointing” ending, and Abrams’ abundant Spielberg references. As far as Spielberg references go, I don’t think any of it took away from the film at all, or obstructed my understanding of the story, so far as I was aware of it. Next to that, I didn’t find the ending disappointing at all. It resolved everything well. That said, Super 8 is one of the best films this summer, and it’s definitely worth the watch.