'Super 8' is a treat

U-News Staff

It may have been almost 30 years since “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” hit theaters, but J.J. Abrams “Super 8,” which hits theaters on June 10, feels as though it should have premiered right along side the Steven Spielberg classic.

“Super 8” is ABrams’s third outing as a feature film director, and his first foray into original source material – his previous outings as a director were “Mission: Impossible 3” and “Star Trek.”

In a summer filled with sequels and franchise movies, “Super 8” is a refreshing film that captures the wonder of being a child, and punctuates it with a fantastic adventure in the vein of “E.T.” and “Flight of the Navigator.”

The movie centers around a group of kids in 1979 who, while filming a movie, narrowly avoid being killed by a derailed train. The train, however, contains a creature from another world, and one that’s not as friendly as the lovable “E.T.”

The movie is filled with a lot of relative unknowns, with breakout performances by Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, sister of actress Dakota Fanning.

Courtney is a fresh face in a fresh movie. He works well in the ensemble, almost Goonies-like group of kids, all of whom do a superb job capturing the element of childhood wonder that was so prevalent in Amblin Entertainment films made almost 30 years ago.

“Super 8” is a movie that defies the usual Hollywood paradigm of superheroes and over-the-top action spectaculars. “Super 8” manages to tell a compelling story about family, loss, and friendship, with a fantastical backrop involving an alien monster.

Abrams displays his skill as a director by keeping the movie firmly in the hands of the children in it – the movie rarely breaks away from the kids point of view to show you an adult perspective, and that makes the movie that much more appealing.

If you find yourself wanting a good movie to take your kids to that might remind you a bit of peeking out from behind a blanket when you were a kid, this movie is certainly it. The violence in the movie is a bit intense sometimes, but the lack of unnecessary gore and the humanization of the characters, alien included, makes the movie much more than a summer action flick.