Director: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Jessica Tuck.
Review: Super smart kids and scary alien monsters are generally a fun formula. The well scripted parts for the “Super 8” kids make it even more fun. Who knew a bunch of straight faced kids could be so much fun to watch. “Mission Impossible” director J.J Abrams creates some fantastic drama and suspense and blends it in with absolutely hilarious moments with the kids. The balance between fun and suspense is not always maintained. But hey, one can overlook that considering the film overall is a good experience. It takes you back to childhood summers spent reading Famous 5, Secret 7, Nancy Drew and the likes.
Small town called ‘Lillian’, experiences a spectacularly filmed train crash. 5 kids filming a movie project nearby have to make a run for it when train parts start flying around and explosions happen everywhere. Some very suspicious cargo goes missing from the train that night and the very next day onwards, strange things begin to happen in ‘Lillian’. Dog’s run away; people and electrical/mechanical things go missing overnight. Power starts going on and off. With the kids in the thick of the action and suspense, it’s super sleuth and bravery time for them. Where the adults fail, the kids rise, with a help of some luck, some courage and certain cinematic liberties of course.
The most enjoyable parts the film were obviously these talented and well directed bunch of kids, one better than the other. But the balance between comedy and suspense goes haywire when certain ‘Yashraj’ like dialogues are exchanged between child and alien monster and also a soppy love angle between 2 of the kids. Yes, I hate to admit it, but you’re reminded of the dialogues exchanged between our desi alien Jadoo and Rekha in ‘Koi Mil Gaya’.
Like the recent ‘flipkart’ ads taught us, it is immensely amusing when kids step in the shoes of adults, but love, relationships…really? Taking a bunch of kids and giving the story adult-like intensity is what lets the film down. It would have been the perfect kids/teenage film, had it cut down on dramatic moments. The back stories for the kids about their single parent-broken homes etc. also contributed to it being stretched and unfortunately confused the genre as well. The build-up in the first half is fantastic and so well done that it is almost disappointing when the suspense breaks in the second half.
But the genre flaws apart, it’s still a nice watch purely for Spielberg’s trademark style, Abrams’ superbly built action/suspense sequences (even with kids involved) and of course, the kids themselves. Very rarely do you see a bunch of kinds carry an entire film on their shoulders.
Verdict: Entertaining from start to finish, it’s a great weekend watch. Take your kids along and don’t forget to sit all the way through the end credits, there’s a rib-tickling surprise at the end.