“Super 8” is about 2 children who have lost their mothers and are now dealing with emotionally absent fathers.   They take part in an independent, short movie with their friends; and during a night of filming (filming in the true sense of the word, as they are using Super 8mm film), they witness the crash of a U.S. Air Force train that unleashes some kind of creature.

Director J.J. Abrams, whose previous projects includes “Lost” and “Cloverfield,” is in familiar territory here.  “Super 8” is a blend of sci-fi/action/suspense/drama, with the focus on the characters and their relationships with each other.  Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney play the 2 children mentioned above.  Their performances are top-notch, especially Fanning’s.  I hope to see these two in more movies that showcase their talents instead of following the footsteps of so many child actors winding up in rehab, coked out of their minds and broke as hell.

Watching the young’uns make their movie in “Super 8″was a treat for me.   Using friends as the actors and crew, people doing multiple jobs, making use of whatever was at hand to make the movie, all the setbacks…it took me back to when I was in my 20s and 30s making indie, guerrilla flicks.  Fun and stressful times; and there were moments when I wanted to punch the eyeballs out of some of the actors.   Those were experiences I’ll never forget.

Abrams started out making short movies when he was a kid.  And from that humble beginning, he has created — among many things — this movie about loss, forgiveness, reconnection and love.  For those looking for a straight up, creature feature, this isn’t for you. This movie reminds me of “E.T.”  Only instead of eating Reese’s Pieces, he wound up in a locker of an NFL player and ate bottles of Human Growth Hormone and steroids.

“Super 8” does have a big B.S. moment, unfortunately.  Okay, the USAF train was derailed due to a scientist driving his pickup truck on the rails going toward the train.   Train and pickup collide in a spectacularly loud fashion, complete with explosions.  And the scientist…is still in his truck…in one piece…and alive.   Abrams, dude, what the hell!  Now, I know why Abrams let the scientist live: so that he can give the kids who were making their movie nearby information as to what was happening, and therefore let the audience know what’s going on.  So you think the scientist dude would die after that, right?  No!  He lives!  What the hell!  If you crashed your pickup head on against a speeding train, CSI would be picking up your testicles in the next town!

Anyway.  One memorable, movie moment deals with a deputy who wants to know answers from the commanding officer of the Air Force guys who are all over his small town.   Deputy Dumbass shows his cards and says he has info on what is happening, and he’s willing to talk to Washington about the situation.  Air Force dude says he’ll tell Deputy Dumbass what he wants to know, but only at a place he designates.  Okaaay.  Sounds fishy, right?  Not to Deputy Dumbass, because in the second scene, Deputy Dumbass goes to the designated place and he is quickly surrounded by Air Force guys pointing their M-16 rifles at him.  I’d like to say Deputy Dumbass was given an anal probe and dissected to see why he is so stupid, but I can’t because nothing of the sort happened.

My most memorable, movie moment takes place during the end credits.  No, no, I’m not being a smartass here!   Remember when I said a bunch of kids were making a short, Super 8mm movie in this movie?  Well, their entire work is shown during the first half of the end credits.  Oh, that really took me back a few decades!  I was diggin’ it, man!  The joys of creating a movie.  Creating art.

M

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