So, here’s the deal:
I was 11 years old in 1979, when this movie takes place. Blondie, Walkman players and the nuclear accident in Harrisburg isn’t just something from the history; It’s a part of my childhood. I saw and loved Close Encounter of the Third Grade and E.T. when they were new – not years afterwards as a part of my film education. I suppose this makes me a little bit biased seeing Super 8. They’re aiming for me.
Deep inside I know it’s sort of a cheap trick they’re doing, but with eyes wide open, I must admit that I enjoyed all the nostalgia Super 8 offered. I’m not the only audience though. Apart from me and my generation fellows, it probably appeals to our children. Even if the 12 year olds won’t have a clue about the references, there’s enough of a simple, straightforward save-us-from-the-monster-story to keep them entertained.
Apart from the nostalgia I also fell for the shameless nudges to people who love to see and to make film. The scenes where the kids were shooting their Super 8 movie were totally adorable.
I’ve seen some complaints about the ending, and in one way I can agree that it’s a bit overly sentimental without actually managing to bring out any tears from me, but that might have to do with the sad fact that I’m old and jaded. However, weren’t Spielberg movies always like that? Actually I think it’s quite appropriate, the kind of ending you would expect from a movie that is all about nostalgia and references to previous films.
All in all Super 8 felt a bit like one of the sparklers the kids used. It burned brightly but ended quickly. It brought me a few smiles and a little bit of excitement for a couple of hours, but as soon as it was over, it was all gone. There was nothing that lingered within me; it didn’t leave any trace since it was basically feeding on whatever traces I’ve had from other movies.
Or wait, I lied. I did notice one effect it had on me: it sparked a sudden longing for me to revisit Stand by Me. As far as I can recall it had the same wonderful magic children-on-a-summer-adventure feeling (just more and better), but without the long stretches of endless explosions that are fun for a little while but gets a bit old eventually and makes you wonder if they somehow have mixed up the tapes with the latest Transformer movie.
Super 8 (Abrams,US, 2011) My rating: 3,5/5