Super 8 (Film)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am


Trailers can be misleading. They often highlight the best parts of a film at the expense of burying the true essence of it.

Case in point: Super 8. The trailer makes it look like a Stephen King horror film. It turns out, though, that Super 8 is not a horror movie. Not even close. It's more like teen classics such as Stand By Me, ET and The Goonies. There's a lot to get excited about with Super 8. But it is not the kind of 'Area 51 aliens' story Spielberg and co want you to believe from the promos.

A US Air Force cargo train crashes in an Ohio town, and a group of amateur filmmakers - Joe (Joel Courtney), Alice (Elle Fanning), and Charles (Riley Griffiths) - witness the event. Their super 8 film camera captures top-secret information. Local deputy Jack (Kyle Chandler) begins investigating, but his efforts are thwarted by the government, which wants to conceal a secret.

At times Super 8 is disjointed and feels like a mixture of films from different genres. Events that seem significant at first turn out to be isolated incidents. Director J.J. Abrams teases us with glimpses of a spidery alien, but we don't get to see it in its full glory until the very end - and the revelation is something of a letdown.

Super 8's nostalgic summer mood sets a nice backdrop for a poignant coming-of-age story about dysfunctional single parents and teen angst. Now, that's what the film is all about, not rampaging aliens.