mon 22/07/2024

DVD: Super 8 | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Super 8

DVD: Super 8

The kids are more than alright in this sweet and terrifically entertaining monster movie

Flash, bang, wallop - what a picture: the young stars of 'Super 8'

In JJ Abrams’s retro sci-fi Super 8, a group of budding film-makers are terrorised by a mysterious creature. With credible camaraderie and poignant performances from its young leads, it’s as much about growing up and the thrill of first-time film-making as it is a dalliance with the fantastical.

It’s 1979 in the small American town of Lillian, and Joe Lamb (saucer-eyed newcomer Joel Courtney) has just lost his mother in an industrial accident. Neglected by a father struggling to cope with his own grief, Joe escapes by helping with his friend’s zombie film and, in the process, he falls for Alice (an excellent Elle Fanning, main image), the daughter of the man his father holds responsible for the accident.

Complicating matters considerably, while out filming, Joe and his friends witness a spectacular train derailment, which sets loose an unseen beast. Although there’s plenty of modern movie magic, Super 8 is faithful in spirit to those kids-in-peril adventure movies of the Eighties. Like The Goonies, there’s bonding, threat and a sprinkling of schmaltz - as well as added Spielbergian sci-fi (it’s produced by the man himself). For those made of sterner stuff it pays homage to horror maestro George A Romero in its film-within-a-film conceit; there are even a number of full-throttle frights, which is refreshing for a film aimed so squarely at the family audience.

Though it becomes too effects-heavy towards the tail, there are lots of tender touches. It opens sombrely with a factory accident sign being reset (from 784 days since the last accident to just one). While the kids are great, the adults too are spot-on, with faces plucked from TV convincingly embodying small-town characters; Joe’s father is played with appealing gruffness by Kyle Chandler. Wittily, aspiring director Charles (another first-timer, Riley Griffiths) never misses an opportunity to add production value to his film, leading to the inadvertent filming of the train crash.

Heartfelt, exciting and often quite scary, Super 8 is a superior blockbuster about youthful discovery with a neat balance between out-of-this-world excitement and of-this-world angst.

Extras comprise a film-makers’ commentary, a creature-design featurette, as well as one charting the origins of the film, with clips from the film-makers’ own Super 8mm movies, highlighting just how personal this film is. It’s an adequate selection but feels as if material is being held back for a future special edition, especially as the commentary refers to featured deleted scenes which aren’t actually included.

  • Super 8 is available on DVD & Blu-ray now

Watch the trailer for Super 8


Heartfelt, exciting and often quite scary, Super 8 is a superior blockbuster


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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