J.J. Abrams’ latest, Super 8, is at once an innocent, touching coming-of-age tale and an intelligent, high-tension blockbuster monster movie that rivals the very best in the genre. Taking on production duties, Spielberg’s visual stamp and influence is all over the final cut; from the effortless ease at which the film skips from scenes of heart-warming childhood innocence (Goonies, E.T.) to the intensity, intrigue and genuine terror that the science-fiction premise unfurls. But the end film is indisputably Abrams’, whose own movie-making career was born when his grandfather took him to Universal Studios in his early childhood and whose very first camera was his JF Super 8.
Like Cloverfield before it – coincidentally, a J.J. Abrams production – Super 8 is best where the mystery is allowed to build and the group of young adolescents search to uncover the answers. The monster might well be spectacularly designed, but the final goodbye seems contrived and a little too neat. It might not rank up there with E.T., but it's the best monster flick you'll see all year. 8