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Nerdlocker! – Super 8 Review

Super 8
Written and Directed by J. J. Abrams. Produced by Steven Spielberg. Starring Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Ron Eldard and Noah Emmerich.

Let’s start with my background. I grew up in a small town in Northeast Ohio during the 80s and watched every Steven Spielberg movie several times over (whether directed or produced by). Super 8 is set during the extreme late 70s in Southwest Ohio, and made to look just like a Steven Spielberg film (whether directed or produced by). Admitedly, given our similarities, I was apprehensive that J. J. Abrams could convince me to like this film. I hate to take the suspense out of this review so early, but he did just that. The movie was amazing.

From the opening scene you can tell we are in for more than just a normal Abrams flick. I might lose my Nerd status for this, but I have not been a big fan of J. J.’s work to date. In my opinion LOST became too big for it britches losing the very essence that made it great in the beginning and Fringe just became a scrambled story/time/dimension that made me care less with every episode. Mission Impossible III restored my faith, but let’s face it, after John Woo destroyed the franchise with II, it wasn’t hard to do better. I really feel he turned a corner with his re-imagining of Star Trek. Luckily for us, Super 8 furthers my faith in him as a director and storyteller. I found that he was able to mimic the esthetics that made Spielberg famous in the 80s while adding his own personal touch. His character development and action sequences are brilliant allowing his story to flow naturally.

I equate this exercise in filmmaking to Spielberg’s attempt to make A.I. in Stanley Kubrick’s image. The main difference here is that Spielberg was unsuccessful in making us care about that film, where as Abrams slapped us aside the head with heart. The main characters are beatifully developed. These are kids I grew up with and can readily relate to. The adults can be seen more as caricitures of what we would expect, but that’s the point. This is E.T., Goonies and dare I say a little of Gremlins, a place where kids or young adults must save the day. Parents are just there to further the story. In the final anlysis, I truly appreciate the care Abrams gave to this world, especially the time period and the setting. Having experienced both for a good part of my life I felt it was authentic and real. By taking his time in crafting it correcting, it made me believe in everything else that followed, which was the magic of Spielberg of the 80s. I could believe everything I was seeing on screen and felt everything the main characters experienced. And most of all, I truly appreciate that J.J. Abrams allowed me to relive my childhood.

I am not easily impressed, so it is with extreme pleasure I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls!

I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!

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