Super 8

Now THIS is good old-fashioned movie making! Writer/Director J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek") and Producer Steven Spielberg ("Transformers") are the perfect pair to bring us this story. Each was a dedicated film- maker starting in grade school, so this story of four devoted friends striving to make their own home movie rings true.

This wonderful film evokes memories of both 1982's "ET" and 2009's "District 9," as it centers around a stranded alien. It made me think of "Stand By Me" from 1986 because of the boys' friendship. But it had to be made in 2011 in order to create such a spectacular train wreck, which could only be done with today's Computer Generated Imaging!
Let's talk about the cast:
  • Joel Courtney, in his film debut, brings us a motherless boy whose father is also in mourning. Our young hero is making a goofy vampire movie with his chums when they witness a spectacular train wreck. It would be hard to imagine anyone better suited for this role.
  • Riley Griffiths, in another debut performance, is the self-appointed writer/director. This Bellevue-based kid had to gain weight for the role, but is convincingly bossy and opinionated. His chaotic family life provides the comic relief.
  • Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") is our hero's widowed father, a deputy sheriff who is suspicious about that mysterious train wreck but told to mind his own business, which seems to be keeping his lively boy out of Trouble.
  • Elle Fanning ("Somewhere") is Trouble: with a possessive red- neck father and a previously undiscovered knack for acting, she is a natural to star in the boys' film; plus she's old enough to drive!
  • Noah Emmerich ("White Collar") is the military guy trying to keep the train's cargo under wraps.
By setting the story in 1979, we can enjoy a time before cell phones, a time when the Sony Walkman is an engineering marvel, and everything out of the ordinary can be blamed on those "Ruskies!" I enjoyed goose- bumps when fathers are reunited with their children, and sighed patiently through all of the blowie uppie stuff. Please be advised there is a creepy monster, so this PG13 outing isn't for tykes!

This is a good movie!