Nick Schager Reviews Super 8

J.J. Abrams imitates to flatter with Super 8, an homage to the seminal science fiction films of Steven Spielberg that succumbs to empty nostalgic pandering. As with his Star Trek, Abrams’s latest puts a modern spin on classical material, though here reinvention isn’t the goal so much as slavish duplication embellished with muscular CG effects. It’s akin to returning to a cinematic womb of Spielbergian father-son issues, suburban households under extraterrestrial strain, and teen romance, friendship, and maturation via out-of-this-world circumstances. The effect of such a modus operandi is initial coziness quickly giving way to disheartening familiarity, with Abrams’s own preoccupations (if he had any to begin with) becoming subsumed beneath the root themes, dynamics, and imagery of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and, more fundamental still, E.T.

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