Tonight I watched Super 8, J. J. Abrams' homage to/reconstruction of some of Steven Spielberg's sci-films from the late 70s and early 80s (Spielberg co-produced). IN 1979 in a small town in Ohio, a group of middle-schoolers are shooting an amateur film: aspiring director Charles (Riley Griffiths), somewhat dense leading man Martin (Gabriel Basso), aspiring pyromaniac and spfx man Cary (Ryan Lee), general handyman and extra Preston (Zach Mills), just-recruited leading lady Alice (Elle Fanning), and make-up artist Joe (Joel Courtney), our eventual hero. While shooting a night scene by a train station, they witness a spectacular train crash, and gradually they become aware of some very strange cargo the train was carrying--which may have to do with an alien from outer space. The script and story, written by Abrams, are nothing special--at times they are derivative and cliched. However, the sextet of young performers are quite good--the camaraderie that develops among them is believable and engaging. Keep an eye on them, especially Fanning, Courtney and Lee. Whether by design or accident, Abrams ended up with a group of no-names--mostly journeymen/women with lots of TV work--in the adult roles; this proves to be a positive as the focus remains on the young performers, where it should be.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing