Super 8: A lesson in filmmaking

From The Urban Wire

The boy, Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney, in his debut performance), who is obsessed with Carpenterhorror and model sets, finds himself having to come to terms with his life after tragedy strikes. Lamb is caught between his personal demons and his obligation and enthusiasm to help his best friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) finish his zombie movie, and the film is centered about his growth rather than the rampaging monster from outer space, a mere subplot in the face of adolescence.

The amateur crew is backed by Lamb and Charles’ boyhood gang, pyromaniac Cary (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills) and their actors, Martin (Gabriel Basso) and Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning). Their innocence and youthful energy are captured through brilliant, honest performances from the child actors, particularly from Joel Courtney, which is pretty impressive seeing as many of them (including Courtney) are total newbies.

Abrams also handles the emotional scenes with enough depth and warmth, and balances them with his signature fast paced action to ensure his audience is at once sympathetic and entertained.


Joel Courtney