It is rare when a film can put you back in your size 5 shoes and remind you what it was like to be kid again. The most talked about examples of this are E.T., The Goonies and Moonrise Kingdom more recently, but it’s 2011’s Super 8 that combines the childlike senses of adventure and mystery that captured our imaginations in years past. Some kids used a camera, some just took advantage of a backyard and plastic lightsabers, but we all created a world more fantastic than the boring one that surrounded us.
Joe Lamb lives in a small town and likes to build and paint models. He lends his skills to help out his best friends that are all making a zombie movie for a local film festival. They’re a tight-nit group which shows not only in the their everyday interactions, but as a film crew with everyone serving a specific purpose. Charles is the writer and director and assembles his team long after they’re supposed to be in bed, to drive out to a train station for a crucial scene. Before they’re ready to shoot, a train is coming in the distance and Charles yells for everyone to get ready because now they have production value! Once filming the scene, a pick-up truck comes out from the darkness and pulls onto the tracks causing derailment and one heck of action sequence.
Once everyone’s accounted for, the kids head to the truck and notice that the lifeless body is that of their honors biology teacher. He jolts awake and tells the kids to run and not mention any of this to anyone or they and their families will die. Once back in town they agree to keep everything quiet and then go their separate ways. But the next morning the wreck is all over the news and strange things start occurring like the dogs are all leaving the city. Of course, the adults are clueless while the kids are intrigued and looking for an adventure – plus the wreck will make great background for their zombie movie!
And we are just as curious as the kids. If only it were us discovering aliens, falling in puppy love again, and hanging out with our friends who didn’t know any better. We root for them with everything we’ve got. Sure, the film has plenty of action and great special effects, but it’s the human emotion and youthful innocence of these best friends surrounded by mystery and danger that makes Super 8 so thrilling and enchanting. This is the kind of film that serves as a reminder to never forget how it felt to be kid.
– Kyle Owen