Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Super 8


I got a strong sense of dejay view in this one. It’s not directed by Steven Spielberg (he is the producer), but the director, the ubiquitous J.J. Abrams, obviously knew what was expected of him. It will remind you of The Goonies, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and of a sort of hardcore E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. None of which is bad, but my tolerance for long shots of ecstatically happy grinning earthlings watching the departure of cute (E.T.) or mysterious (CE3K) or super-powerful Area 51 (Super 8) aliens kind of got used up around 1982. So the ending was a let-down. As usual, when you finally see the monster he’s not nearly as scary as you hoped. But the getting there was fun. There is a monster train wreck, and a lot of entertaining action. I liked the chutzpah of the kids making their little movie on super 8 film—I did the same thing when I was younger. (I don’t believe you could do sound-on-film with super 8, as they do here, but I could be wrong.) But the chief pleasure for me was watching Dakota Fanning’s 13-year-old little sister, Elle. Based on this, I’d say she has a chance of being as big a star as her prodigiously talented sibling. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t leave at the fade-out. During the credits the movie the kids were making is shown in its entirety, and may be the best and funniest thing in the film.