Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

J.J. Abrams' SUPER 8

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

Back in my early days of reviewing films when my kids were growing up and still at home I created a special category called “Young People” where I placed movies that didn’t treat cinema kids like idiots or totally obsessed with sex and fart jokes. Movies in that category included Bend It Like Beckham, Bring It On, Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Donnie Darko, Everybody’s Famous, The 400 Blows, Ghost World, I Capture the Castle, L’Auberge Espagnole, Logan’s Run, Not One Less, and Riding in Cars with Boys. 

Super 8 belongs in that category. Yes it’s remarkably nostalgic about adolescence and the 1970’s but its focus on adolescence, energy, friendship, and mystery is completely refreshing. Sometimes the special effects go over the top, as with the whiz-bang train crash and the suburban firefight. But the kids shine through. But there’s enough Spielbergian us-against-the-adult-world sensibility to rise above the noise and explosions. Also, having grown up in Ohio I was totallly enchanted by the physical town and how an earlier era was created; the last time I saw that done so well was in Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.

Finally, this is one movie where you want to be sure to sit through the credits.

Review copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald

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