A storyteller who attempts to revisit the cinematic magic of Steven Spielberg films from the 1970s and ’80s has got to have heart. Miles and miles of it. A secret government freight train full of heart. Writer-director J.J. Abrams has that and some to spare, and his fondly crafted sci-fi thriller SUPER 8 is the most personal, involving film of his career.
Yet to classify the film as a Spielbergian homage sells SUPER 8 very short, as such touches are film nerd frosting on Abrams’ nostalgic tale about a group of childhood friends and budding filmmakers who literally rely on each other for survival amid a small town world of distracted and dysfunctional parents and siblings. His film celebrates that unique age span when a best friend means everything to a kid, a time you would do anything for your friends because they are your anchor in an expanding, confusing universe. SUPER 8 captures that delicate, dangerous moment when young minds and hearts cope with loss and discover love in a surprisingly touching summer film.