So, here’s the problem. If you’re going to be all coy with the marketing, and underline the fact that you’re not telling me stuff about the story, that’s going to really raise my expectations. And if you’re J. J. Abrams, and you’ve already directed Mission: Impossible 3 and Star Trek and you produced Cloverfield, three films I really love, then the bar is raised that much higher. Finally, if you sort of imply that there’s some kind of connection between your film and something that Spielberg did…? Okay, now you’ve pushed my expectations so high, I can’t even believe them. And yet, I have them anyway.
Everything I’m about to say about Super 8 must be viewed through that lens. I was expecting the best film of the summer. And the reviews I read before the film released indicated that I was right.
All that said, the film is good, not great. I appreciated the look and feel that did take me back to the late seventies. Some of the shots really looked like they could have come from Close Encounters. Unfortunately, this film owes much more to the heritage of E.T. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m in the minority of people who found E.T. kind of boring. It was a little too much of a kid’s film. And Super 8 has the same problem.
Not to say I didn’t like the performances. All these rugrats did a great job, particularly Elle Fanning, who is officially a better actress than her sister. She was stellar. The handful of adults were also good. Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard. Liked them all.
But the focus on the kids and their specific kid problems (liking a girl, making a zombie film) forced the focus of the film to be very narrow for large portions of the running time. When the scope finally does widen, and there’s some action, and we find out what’s happening, it’s good. But I’m still watching it, thinking, “Did we really need a remake of E.T.?”
All in all, I was a little disappointed.