It is the summer of 1979 and a group of friends are filming an amateur movie for the contest. During one of the scenes they witness a train crash which put the start to the chain of events that are going to change the lives of all people in their small town.
I was not intending to watch this movie based on what I saw in the trailer. I am not a great fan of horrors or anything like that, and given the fact that 2011 was rich in good movies, my conscience did not object much. Anyway, as the flow of movies came to a stall, I got back to the Super 8.
Well, J.J. Abrams, writer and director of the movie, fooled me. It is beyond the understanding come the trailer to the movie is so detached and different from the movie itself, as if the trailer was a completely independent unit of cinematography. In a way this is good as it does not give away all the catches of the movie, but the fact remains that based on the trailer you would expect something completely different.
And J.J. Abrams continues to fool the audience throughout the film. This movie is a mystery itself, like the cubes featured in the film. It takes all possible forms and shapes: it starts off as simple rom-com, quickly grows into drama, in a split second becomes first-class action, transforms into classical sci-fi and then back into action. This is the movie-chameleon, movie-enigma, movie-transformer, movie-Rubik's Cube. It quotes directly almost all famous movies in the genres it mimics, starting from the Alien and ending with Saving Private Ryan. J.J. Abrams plays with the movie as if he was not sure himself what he wanted to write about. However, despite the constant transformations, the movie is still coherent, without any logical gaps or inconsistencies. It manages to keep a pretty fast pace, even though it dips sometimes when switched to a more slow-paced genre.
This transformational nature of the movie imprints on the characters created. The film incorporates children who act as adults, and adults who act as children, and children who act as children. In the end you start to wonder whether the roles were assigned correctly, or whether the age groups have been messed up; but stay calm – this is just a part of the movie which tries to understand what and whom it is about. And the actors are perfectly up to the task, with super-serious Elle Fanning (as Alice Dainard) playing like an adult and child-like emotional Ron Eldard as Louis Dainard.
In the end, it becomes clear that the Super 8 just continues the trend of 2011: it is one more movie about the movies. But this one is different from the Artist or Hugo in a sense that it does not hail any particular time period in the history of the cinematography (even though it could be argued it concentrates on the movies of 70s-early 80s), but it explores all the different genres a movie can be, and tries the mask of every single one of them. It is the anthem to the variety on the movie market, as well as the keen amateurs from 70s-80s who used Super 8 to film their view of the world, whatever those views were.
VERDICT: All the genres of movie industry packed into one Super-movie. Fast-paced and touching story.
WATCH: if you would like to see a concise medley of all the movies you have seen in your life.