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Steven Spielberg lets J.J. Abrams do a movie in his style

  • Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard and Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb in "Super 8."
  • A scene from "Super 8."
  • A scene from "Super 8."
  • Joel Courtney (right) as Joe Lamb in "Super 8."
  • A scene from "Super 8."
  • Elle Fanning (center) as Alice in "Super 8."
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J.J. Abrams, a household name in the film industry seems like he has a long list of movie credits, but it's actually a rather small list. I knew J.J. Abrams directed the last Star Trek movie, and was behind the TV show Lost. I figured he had 15 other films that I just couldn’t recall. Nope.

Abrams wrote and directed Super 8 – the first big popcorn movie of the summer, and it's going to be huge. Steven Spielberg had hired Abrams to restore the 8mm films he did as a kid, since they were all falling apart, and has said about Abrams, "We’ve come full circle now."

I just wish Abrams wouldn’t have made a movie that is so reminiscent of Spielberg’s early films. Watching the movie, I thought, there’s Close Encounters. Ah, that’s from E.T. A little bit of Goonies there. Hey... there’s some War of the Worlds, and a little bit of Cloverfield. There’s not an original thing about this movie; luckily, it all still works and Super 8 is fun to watch.

The kids in this Ohio town (circa 1979) are filming their own zombie movie. They aren’t obnoxious or more precocious than they needed to be, and so into their craft that they take their time to get the make-up just right. I thought of Lon Chaney, and him taking parts of eggs and putting them in his eyes to make them look milky. When there are a bunch of 14-year-olds with no budget, they resort to similar techniques. The military tries to cover up information about a train wreck (with the military thug played nicely by Noah Emmerich). I've been told recently that I sometimes give away things in my reviews that I shouldn’t; since the trailer merely showed a train wreck and "something" in the cargo car smashing at the walls, that’s all I’ll say. The train crash is exciting, and so was watching a cherried out Nova smash into the back of a Gremlin. We get to enjoy the $45 million dollars spent on Super 8, with some great special effects.

You hear all the usual songs on the soundtrack – Blondie, Cars, ELO, and the kids sitting around singing My Sharona.

Super 8 a nice coming-of-age sci-fi story that you can bring the whole family to watch, and nobody will leave disappointed.

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  • Rating: 3 of 5