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June 18, 2011

"Super 8:" A Fun Movie Throwback

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Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg's summer collaboration, "Super 8," is a throwback to the days of "E.T." and "Jaws."

It's kinda quaint, kinda sweet and has plenty of action and suspense.

"Super 8" is about a group of boys who set out to make a zombie movie and become involved in a real life monster drama.

Set in the 80s when kid movie making meant a super 8 film camera and days of waiting for the film to be developed and returned, the movie primarily works because the kids are believable.

Joel Courtney plays Joe Lamb, a kid who's struggling to deal with the loss of his mother and also trying to connect with his Dad, the town deputy, played by Kyle Chandler.

Though he and his friends fit the usual movie kid stereotypes:  the wimpy kid, the chubby kid, the handsome lead, the psycho kid, and the girl they all find fascinating, the beauty of this being a J.J. Abrams script is that those stereotypes are adjusted just enough to make the kids fresh and fun.

For example, I love that for once the chubby kid, Charles (Riley Griffiths) isn't the butt of everyone's jokes, but is in fact the director of the film and likes to lecture about how important story is, and when seeing a great shot, grabs his camera and yells, "production values!"

The wimpy kid is tall and thin and actually looks like he'd be the courageous one.  The psycho kid has braces and is just this side of a pyromaniac, but you just know he's going to grow up to be the best demolition expert ever born.

Elle Fanning, plays Alice, the girl in question, but even she has an unexpected subplot that goes beyond just being the object of the boys' fantasies.

These are also kids who aren't written as small, smart alecky adults and I love that too.  So go see "Super 8" for some summer fun and when you do, be sure to stay through the credits.


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