It took me a few weeks to haul my butt off the couch and see Super 8, despite the fact that the first time I saw the coming attractions, I decreed it THE MOVIE TO SEE for the official start of the summer. (On a side note, the actual must-see movie for me this year is Captain America. This from a guy who has Cap’s shield tattooed on his arm. ‘Nuff said) Why the delay? you might ask. Well, despite some decent critical reviews, I’d heard enough from my peers to make me think twice about spending my hard earned money. Even the folks in Twitter Land warned me against it.
Well, twits and friends be damned. I came. I saw. I ate too much popcorn. I liked. I liked it alot, and here’s why. The movie is set in 1979 and centers around 5 boys and 1 girl, all around 12 and 13 years old. Well, that’s pretty much my age in 1979. The entire movie, for me, was a trip back to my childhood. There were the Famous Monsters models I used to put together! There’s the Keep on Truckin’ poster my friend had on his wall! Look at those awful clothes! And most of all, being a kid was damned near perfect and magical before Pac Man invaded. I kept watching and saying (softly and to myself), “That’s little me up there. Go kid, go!”
I’m not going to bore you with a breakdown of the movie. Plenty of other people and places have already beaten me to that punch. Suffice to say, the boys and girl, while shooting a zombie movie by the train tracks, witness the most horrific train derailment you’ll ever see. Something is released from the wreckage, a monster you don’t really see until the end (kudos to director J.J. Abrams on that one), the military takes over the town and it’s up to the kids to save it as well as themselves. I have to say, the cast of kids was the best since The Goonies. Abrams is a bright student of the Speilberg film school (who produced this) and he manages to touch on all the right pressure points. Yes, there are some gaps in logic and the end is less than satisfying. But I finally have a movie I can show to my kids and say, “Now THAT is exactly how I grew up. We only wished there was a monster wrecking the town. It would have given your old man a great excuse to unleash some of his stash of M-80s.”
Nothing beats a good old monster movie. There’s magic in Super 8 that has been sorely missed. Don’t you miss it, too.