super8It is fun to watch the VH1 series, I Love the 70's.

It is fun to watch the VH1 series, I Love the 70's. The clothes, the electronics, the music, the cars, and the mindset all bring back fond memories for those who lived, even if as youngsters, in that groovy decade. The new sci-fi thriller from writer/director J.J Abrams (Lost, Fringe) takes us back to 1979 for a nostalgic taste of not only the decade but of how fun movies can and should be.

A group of young, Jr High aged friends in a small Ohio town witness a massive train wreck while filming their own zombie inspired movie. Soon after the crash eerie and mysterious events begin happening in the town. Immediately the US Air-force steps in to cover everything up. The rag tag team of filmmakers start their own investigation and use the real events as a backdrop to their fictional film.

Thankfully J.J Abrams wore the directors hat in this movie but be even more thankful that Steven Spielberg co-produced it. There is just as much of Steven's DNA in this film as there is of Abrams and it is in those moments that this really shines. This is as close as this generation will get to seeing a film like Close Encounters, E.T, or the original Jurassic Park on the big screen. Those of us who saw these remember how magical they were. And this one has nearly that same affect. Nearly.

J.J writes a pretty solid story line pulling from the likes of The Goonies and Stand by Me. The kids are funny and there is a naivety about them that comes across well. Other than Elle Fanning, this is the very first role for the other young actors. They must have had a genuine excitement about working on this film and that energy comes through nicely. You like them from the start. Abrams also captures the classic Sc-fi feel brilliantly. Alien conspiracy, secret labs and military cover-ups ooze from every cell of this flick.

Now for the bad news. Super 8 is rated PG-13 but easily could have been trimmed to a family friendlier PG with the simple removal of the language. I was 12 in 1979 and of course I would slip in a few mild expletives while hanging out with my buddies. But here Abrams peppers his script with curse word after curse word; but never from the adults. This over sight takes much of the charm away from the film and will leave many parents frustrated if watching with their younger teens. The language adds nothing to the film. I don't like it better because it is there and would like it more if it weren't. A film like this simply doesn't need it.

Another element that parents should be cautious of, but I was glad they had in there, were the intense moments involving the monster. There is that same edge of your seat nervousness that took place the first time you heard T-Rex thundering through the jungle in Jurassic Park. And this monster attacks with as much velocity. Keep this in mind when bringing some of your younger, shakier family members. I give SUPER 8 4.5 out of 5. A super fun film with lots of laughs, jumps, thrills and chills. Plus a nice throwback to the end of a groovy decade. 17 or 70, if you like the sci-fi genre and appreciate a good monster movie then this is your ticket.

Matt Mungle

Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.