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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Super 8

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

This sci-fi thriller takes place in rural Ohio in 1979. A group of junior high school students led by Charles (Riley Griffiths) are making a super 8 mm film for a film contest but they are making it up as they go. Zombies are prominent.

Joe (Joel Courtney) makes model trains. He lives with his dad, Deputy Lamb (Kyle Chandler), as his mom has just died. Joe is in charge of make-up and he has a huge crush on Allie (Elle Fanning) who takes her dad Louis’ (Ron Eldard) car to drive the gang to the train station to shoot a zombie scene.

As they begin to shoot Joe notices a pick-up truck drive onto the tracks of an oncoming freight train. There is a spectacular crash and the cars are detailed. The kids are terrified and run off, leaving the camera rolling. It catches secrets the US Air Force, that arrives on the scene very quickly, doesn’t want anyone to know. Strange square objects burst out of the cars, and Joe picks one up to take home.

The kids go back for the camera and in the three days it takes for the film to be developed, all kinds of things happen. We discover that there is great enmity between the two fathers, Louis and Deputy Lamb, and why. We also see that their children are lonely and long for their parents love when they are grieving for different reasons.

There is an alien in their midst, and the kids’ goal is to discover what the alien wants. In some ways we’ve seen this movie before - think E.T., District 9, and a little bit of the Wizard of Oz and the typical fairytale structure of the death of the mother that in its own way motivates the actions. But it is so well made, the performances so engrossing, that the time flew by for me.

It is the perfect film for the Pentecost season. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are all there: peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, wisdom, knowledge, reverence and so on. See how many you can find.
Sometimes I think that Steven Spielberg makes the best Christian movies ever. Then J.J. Abrams, who gave us the hit TV series “Lost” doesn’t do such a bad job himself.


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