It’s 1979, and Joe Lamb and his five friends are making a zombie apocalypse movie for an international film competition. As they’re filming at the train station, their amateur movie takes a surprising turn – a truck drives onto the train tracks, colliding with the train and causing a huge accident. As they wander the wreckage, they find the train’s cargo – peculiar looking cubes dotted around the place – and the driver of the truck, who warns them never to speak of the event. It’s all very foreboding, and, of course, the kids don’t listen. As the movie progresses and the military begin to get involved with the train accident, the children discover that what they have witnessed is far more complicated and terrifying than they could possibly have imagined.
Government conspiracy? Strange objects found at the train wreck site? What could this mean? You guessed it – it’s aliens.
I really liked this movie. The kids are all fantastic actors and add a wonderful comedy factor to the movie, without which I think it would have been a flop. The dialogue between the kids is authentic and familiar, which lightens the tone of the film massively so that even the scarier scenes of the film are comfortable to watch.
Whenever the kid producer of the amateur zombie movie, Charles Kaznyk, would get worked up about the film, getting excited about ‘mint’ new lines and constantly talking about ‘production value’, I could feel the actual directors and producers J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg taking the mickey out of themselves, which I enjoyed. Super 8 so light-hearted that it feels less like a Hollywood blockbuster and more like Abrams’ and Spielberg’s personal little project. It’s obvious from the atmosphere of the movie and the way the kids respond to each other on camera that everyone had a great time making it. Spielberg said that “it was not like an adult directing kids, it was like a bunch of kids trying to make up this movie as they went along”- the enjoyment that everyone had in making this film is, I think, what makes it enjoyable for us.
That being said, you kind of forget that this is a movie about aliens. I had so much fun just following the story of the kids making their zombie film that I forgot that something was actually going to happen. The alien didn’t really make a proper appearance until half way through, which made the film a little disjointed. The alien didn’t get as much spotlight as it needed, and I don’t think the writers gave it enough attention either. It came off as the stereotypical ‘crash-landed monster, who later proves that human beings are actually the monsters’, which was a bit disappointing.
Considering that this is a Spielberg movie, I felt that the action and aliens seemed almost like a side thought. And, considering that this was also an Abrams movie… the constant use of lense-flares makes sense.
It’s a great film, kind of a weird mixture of The Goonies, War of the Worlds and Men in Black. It’s very light hearted but has its tense moments: the perfect choice for a relaxed Halloween.
Image Credit: independent.co.uk