After a US Airforce cargo train crashes just outside a small town called Lillian, the local inhabitants lead by a group of curious young kids begin to think the Airforce is hiding something about what was actually on the train.
Leading up to the release of JJ Abrams 2008 Monster movie Cloverfield, we were treated as fans to a genius marketing campaign and a brilliant new way of telling a story. Cloverfield went on to be a huge success for Abrams, and then last summer there was another trailer put on the web, same genius marketing strategy. Make a trailer, where all we see is a train derailing and dents being made into one of the train cars while we can clearly read “US Airforce” on the side of it. It was simple, yet affective because it captivated the people watching the trailer. It was quite obvious it would be another film similar and style to Cloverfield, all the while trying to use the faults of Cloverfield to their advantage.
Cloverfields documentary film style, shown from the perspective of a handycam was both the biggest reason it was successful but also made it hard to see a lot of the action from a straight non shaky camera view. With Super 8 we are treated to the delight of a full blown monster flick with great explosions and great camera angles so we get to see closeups of the monster as well as feel the tension throughout the entire crisis more. With Cloverfield you felt only what the four people with the handy cam felt, with Super 8 you got to feel what the entire town folk of Lillian felt.
It also felt as though Super 8 tried to present more of a back-story for the monster, more of a clearly defined back-story during the film. The Cloverfield back-story has had numerous rumours as to what the monster was exactly and what its motives were. With Super 8 the audience was treated to the old camera footage of the scientists working and experimenting on this creature. The suspense was built up when the camera was knocked over and the kids went to get the film developed. It seemed like just when Super 8 was out of things to keep you interested something else happened to bring you right back to being very much interested and aware of what exactly is happening.
All of the actors seemed better in Super 8 then those featured in Cloverfield. Kyle Chandler has gotten critical praise across the board for his performance in Friday Night Lights, and he does good with what he was given here, but he could have been given just a tad bit more dialogue and emotional scenes to showcase his talent on the big screen. The kids in the film lead by Elle Fanning are the best part of the film. Their curiosity as budding young filmmakers is exactly the way any kid would be; with a few things they do being a bit over the top and outrageous but like Charles says in the moving “It adds production value”
Overall it seems to me atleast that Super 8 is a slightly better film then Cloverfield was back in 2008. Super 8 is a good film, well written, amazing special affects and brilliant actors portraying these characters who are curious yet still very much afraid of what the cargo could be.