JJ Abrams & "Super 8" try to lift up a summer filled with bummer

Here's a film that shares a distinct commonality to some of the great science fiction movies of the last decade such as Spielberg's War Of The Worlds and Neil Blomkampf's Distrct 9: Its ending sucks. You know what I say? It's just the ending. Before that Super 8 is really just a blast and is carried off by its young lead actors who show a remarkable presence on screen. I won't give too much away cause this is really just one of those movies you got to see without knowing much about. There's a train wreck in a small town and it's caught by these film obsessed kids shooting a movie of their own. The tragdy twists everything around in an otherwise quietly simple, mundane town. It's really in its mysteries that the film works best -- the guessing game is relentlessly inventive with a sly approach to not giving too much away to the audience and their hungry appetite for answers. Of course once the audience is fed the said mystery Super 8 crumbles in its own pretentious Hollywood formula, which is a real shame cause it really is just tremendous fun.

This nifty little -or actually big- project comes to us from Spielberg protege JJ Abrams, who always has nifty little tricks up his sleeves - The Lost finale anyone? -but has a knack to sometimes outdo his own ambitions such as what in fact happened in Lost's preaching finale and this film's final 20 minutes. Which is really all good since I'd rather have an artist strike out and miss with something fresh than watch the same, same old retreads weekend after weekend - Pirates Of The Carribean 4 anyone? The Green Lantern? What it really comes down to is ambition and none of the big studio movies out there right now have Super 8's ambition. Acknowledgment must be given to the true stars of the film, who aren't big names but in fact teenagers that have a natural way of showing to the camera what it really is like to be young and frightened. Elle Fanning -Dakota's younger sister- is a standout and really just knocked me out in an emotional scene at the beginning.

We still haven't found that one great movie of Summer 2011. Usually every summer brings us a film that will combine both artistic integrity with mass appeal (The Dark Knight, Wall E, Up, Inception) to create a work of art that almost everybody can agree upon. Super 8 tries to be that film but its too simple a concept and too familiar to really warrant a mark of greatness or a place in sciene fiction history. What it does have is heart and I wouldn't even be able to name you 1 movie so far this summer that has had enough heart and smarts to capture an entire nation hungry for the next big thing in theatres. It ain't coming folks, unless you're -of course- looking forward to Transformers 3, then you shouldn't even be reading this blog in the first place.

Super 8 (PG-13) ★★★