Super 8 has distilled the best elements of Steven Spielberg’s films that centre on children (ET, The Goonies) and has been tempered on the modern anvil of JJ Abrams’ (Star Trek, Cloverfield) direction. The result is an unalloyed joy – exciting, captivating and moving; a film in which every relationship feels real, in which characters come alive on the screen and one that makes you nostalgic for every childhood summer day spent riding BMXs and having adventures.
Set in a small town in 1979, it follows 12 year old Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) as he struggles to cope with the recent death of his mother. Finding no help from his withdrawn father, the town’s Deputy (Kyle Chandler) he throws himself into making a zombie movie with his gang of friends including wannabe director Charles (Riley Griffiths) and pyromaniac Carey (Ryan Lee).
Sneaking out of their houses with the help of 14 year old Alice (Elle Fanning), they set up their shoot at an isolated train station. Things are going well until a car driven by one of their schoolteachers swerves onto the tracks and derails a freight train and series of mysterious events start happening all over town.
Nevertheless, Super 8 is a film which feels like a previously unreleased Spielberg classic, one which treats childhood, with all its ups and downs, with great affection. The effects are great and the action superb, but this is merely the gilded frame which surrounds a clever, thoughtful and nostalgic film, an homage to a better class of film making.
Super 8 – Monday at 8.pm on FilmFour.