Super 8 is an expert mix of Goonies, Gremlins, Stand By Me, filtered through the more recent Cloverfield. It strives to be peers with the 80’s Amblin films it’s drawing inspiration from, and it comes remarkably close.
The 80’s Amblin pictures were all about finding adventure in your own backyard, and how that adventure impacted the lives and relationships of some efficiently and fully drawn characters. They had immediacy, and a sense possibility.
Super 8 recaptures the magic in the characters and their relationships, and it chronicles a grand adventure, but it places it all in 1979. So instead of making us feel like magic could be right around the corner, it just reminds us that magic used to exist, 32 years ago. It’s a subtle difference, but a crucial one. Nostalgia aint what it used to be.
Still, the wonder and adventure is still there, and the character scenes are truly great. Even an almost-Amblin movie is superior to most summer fare, and this one is definitely worth your time and money.