The kids are all right
Direction: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning
It's inventive, warm-hearted and refreshingly entertaining. A throwback to those edge-of-the-seat sci-fi adventures which Steven Spielberg specialised in during the late 1970s and early '80s, Super 8 turns out to be quite a surprise packet.
Writer-director Abrams (Mission: Impossible III) avowedly uses the plot as a peg to hang the bloodless action scenes.
Aided by an outstanding ensemble of young actors and the eye-dazzling cinematography of Larry Fong, he succeeds in keeping our interest rooted in the bunch of kids from a small Ohio town.
They stumble upon a military conspiracy while filming a horror film about zombies on their Super 8 movie camera. Inexplicable events ensue culminating in a rousing climax that recalls both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
Throughout, the focus is on ordinary people attempting to cope with extraordinary situations as best they can. Needless to emphasize, innocence and optimism eventually prevail.
Joel Courtney as the motherless child and Elle Fanning as the star of the zombie film the youngsters are surreptitiously shooting deliver commanding performances. As their movie-geek friend, Riley Griffiths is also impressive.
Incidentally, the completed zombie picture titled The Case, shown over the end-credits, is a hoot.
An exhilarating example of old-school storytelling, Super 8 is well worth the price of a ticket.