26: Super 8

In perhaps the most hyped movie of the summer, J.J. Abrams writes and directs this film set in the late 70’s  as  Joe, a timid but charming teenager helps his friend Charles (Riley Griffith) make a film to enter in a regional Super 8 film contest.

One night Joe sneaks out of the house to film a few scenes with his friends at a nearby train station.  As a train passes by while the camera rolls, a pick-up truck charges onto the tracks and crashes into the train, causing a disastrous derailment.  As the gang flees for their life, they discover that one of their teachers had derailed the train on purpose and the teacher warns them to never speak of the incident to anyone-right before he is taken into custody by the military who obviously wants to cover something up.

The next few days bring mass power outages, numerous disappearances and all the neighborhood dogs running away while the town panics over these mysteries.  Joe and Charles discover footage from their film during the train crash and must decide how to deal with their increasingly dangerous knowledge.

Aside from the perfect balance of adventure, fantasy and humor, Super 8 has  a superb ensemble cast rounded out by Ryan Lee (nearly stealing the show) as the hysterical pyromaniac Carey and Elle Fanning as Alice, who Joe dearly adores and must also rescue after she suddenly disappears.

All of the hype surrounding this film lives up to every conceivable expectation.  This film feels like it could have been made in the mid-80’s and I believe will stand along such classics as The Goonies and E.T. over time.  Let’s just hope J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg team up again for more magic.

They truly don’t make films like this anymore.   Super 8 is warm, inviting, and generously inspiring to all ages and  also totally feels like an instant classic.

The survey says….5 stars out of 5!!

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Categories: 100 Films

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