Certificate 12A, 112 minutes
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney and Kyle Chandler
Super 8 is set during 1979 in the small (and fictional) town of Lillian, Ohio. The "Super 8" of the films title refers to Super 8 mm film, a format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak that was primarily aimed at amateur film makers, although it was popular with professionals also.
Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) has recently lost his mother and is helping his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) make a zombie film for a competition along with several of their friends, including Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning, Maleficent), whom Joe is quite struck on. Joe's father, Jackson (Kyle Chandler, The Wolf of Wall Street) a local police deputy would rather that Joe wasn't spending so much time making this film and prefer him to spend some time with some other children.
The zombie movie the group were making, called The Case, is shown during the credits at the end of the film, so if you want to watch it, don't stop the film too early. It's very short and looks distinctly amateur - which it is probably supposed to - and was actually written by one of the stars of Super 8, Gabriel Basso, who played Martin. It wasn't written by the actor who played Charles; Charles being the writer of The Case in Super 8). Various scenes from The Case are shot throughout the main film, and excerpts are seen as well as there being other clips being filmed as a backdrop to events in the main film. The company in The Case is called Romero Chemical, probably a reference to George A Romero, the effective creator of the modern zombie.
It's never made clear why the film was set in 1979. It may be that if set today, making a film wouldn't be such a big deal, as it could be done more easily using cameras built into mobile phones and computers. The time setting isn't that obvious for most of the film; the most noticeable difference is that the teenagers aren't festooned with electronic gadgets or zoned out in front of a screen like they could be if the film had been set today.
Most of Super 8 is based around and follows the story of the teenagers; although there are some scenes with adults in them, most of the adults have very little involvement in the actual story. The main exceptions are Joe's father, Jackson, Colonel Nelec and Alice's father, Louis (Ron Eldard). Not a bad watch.