Summer is always the best time for action films and this summer is no exception. So far we have had "Green Lantern" "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" "Thor" and "Super 8." I have to admit that I have not seen the first three films on that list but I did see "Super 8." Twice, in fact. This is the kind of film that encompasses everything: mystery, humor, family, friendship, an amazing train wreck, aliens, young love, and redemption. It also features some of the best special effects I have seen all year and the best dialogue. "Super 8" was written and directed by J.J. Abrams (the brilliant executive producer of "Alias" "Lost" "Fringe"), and was co-produced by Steven Spielberg. The story is a basic one. A group of young teenagers are spending their summer vacation making a zombie film and they unwittingly film a train wreck that involves aliens and a military cover-up. The kids are pulled into many dangerous situations, along with their respective parents, but in the end, they triumph. I'm not giving anything away here. Most alien films end like that but it's the journey to that triumph that is the joy in viewing these films. The young actors (Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee and Gabriel Basso) who play the teenagers are revelatory. They play each part exactly as they should and with such ease you feel as if you know them. You will find yourself rooting for them and just waiting for the next scene to see how they play it. Elle Fanning is the lone girl in the group and she is also wonderful. The best part is she actually looks like a 14 year old girl. That is so refreshing. Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor from one of the best shows to ever be on television, "Friday Night Lights") is perfect as one of the boy's father and the Sheriff's deputy who has to take over during the crisis when the Sheriff is killed in a very dramatic way. Ron Eldard ("ER" "Men Behaving Badly") is the other father who features prominently and he is also very good.
"Super 8" is the perfect summer film - it's fun, it's exciting, it's well-acted and well-written. I highly recommend it for the entire family. ***Be sure to stay for the credits - there's a surprise!***