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Saturday, 22 June 2013

10 out of 8

A superlative film from J.J. Abrams, clearly channelling the work of producer the fabulous Mr. Spielberg, Super 8 takes the joyfully freewheeling sensibility of ET and brings a darker more adult tone to a story that borrows several themes from Earth-bound Science Fiction, but Abrams takes these and makes them his own. Hinging the story around the youngsters shooting a movie is a clever and affecting touch, evoking memories of childhood dreams in the audience, and the young stars have a great chemistry that makes the whole premise engrossing. But it would not work so well if the adult performances did not anchor events in the 'real' world of grown-up cares and concerns, and good turns from Kyle Chandler and Ron Elard do just that, especially in the opening scenes where the film's emotional level is established. The youngsters are not upstaged however and the leading lights of the cast-within-a-cast, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Riley Griffiths are entirely believable, but it is Fanning who steals the show in the key train wreck scene, which is fraught with tension and excitement even before the train arrives and, like a certain scene in David Lynch’s 'Mulholland Drive' featuring Naomi Watts, is a highly effective illustration of what proper acting looks like. Super 8 is essential viewing for fans of Abrams, Spielberg or just plain wonderful movies.

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