“Excuse me, can I have another order of fries? Because my friend here is fat. ” (Cary)

I enjoyed this movie way too much, I thought when the movie faded to black. Then I noticed the credits and thought: I’m not enjoying this nearly enough. In a world currently inhabited by the Summer blockbusters, Super 8 delivers something fresh and exciting: it’s not fast. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t star Justin Timberlake. It’s just a cute little movie telling a cute little story that, somewhere along the line, turns into shit. The good kind of shit.

It’s hard to describe Super 8 without giving away the entire plot – like a lot of J.J. Abrams things, going in unprepared is part of the fun. But saying it stars five geeky kids in a small town in Ohio sometime in the seventies who, while shooting their own horror movie on super 8, make the discovery of their lifetimes and learn something about themselves in the process wouldn’t be so much of a spoiler. Like a lot of Abrams’ things, it starts off relatively normal and catches you completely off-guard in terms of absurdity – how much of it you can (and will) swallow.

And that always makes me excited. Around every bend, there’s a new, exciting plot twist waiting to happen. Remember how you used to watch movies as a kid and they were just magic? It’s a feeling I rarely have nowadays, but it happened somewhere during Super 8. It left me completely enthralled.

It all just seemed to fit. The tone of the movie. The colour. The world. The characters that inhabit it. There wasn’t a single moment in which the child actors felt out of place – they were part of their peaceful little world. A world that sometimes gets disturbed by a sweet-looking three-minute train crash sequence.

What I’m not saying is Super 8 is without faults. Me and my coviewers couldn’t agree exactly where the problem was, but we were all pointing in the same direction and that’s never a good thing. Some plotlines – for example the father – were cut short without a climax; others, like Joe and his necklace, just seemed to tells the same thing twice or overlap with things we had already seen. It’s a shame – for a movie that walks the line between good entertainment and contentful entertainment, it seems to have shot right next to the grand prize.

Abrams once said he thought a good secret should never be exposed. Say you have a box – once you open it, you know what’s inside. Not knowing is more fun; unveiling is automatically a disappointment because your imagination is always better. It’s one of the reasons LOST got a lot of criticism in its final moments: it wasn’t what people had thought it would be (worse: the truth was a lot less farfetched than people believed).
Once Super8 lays the cards on the table and tells us what it’s about, it’s actually a lot less deep and interesting (but, admittedly, a lot more fun). So I guess Abrams is right. If only people would listen.

Yet here I am, still grinning. Super 8 is one of those rare gems that reminds you what it was like to be a kid. Whether you’re shooting a movie or building camps in the woods. Like Stephen King’s IT, Super 8 captures the emotions of our inner child and does something with them. It’s not about monsters – or giant spiders, in IT’s case – but about what it feels like to be a kid. To be completely at home in your own little world. To have everything make sense. To have an adventure and go home for dinner at night, just like in those comic books you used to read.

And that’s why should watch Super 8. The whole monster movie thing aside, it’s kind of magic.


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