By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 11, 2011 at 1:25AM
Summer movie season, consider yourself saved. While a few of the summer movies are yet to show their wares, most of the big movies have debuted a trailer of some kind, and most have disappointed -- "Green Lantern," "Pirates 4," "Thor," "The Hangover 2," "Cars 2," all underwhelming to one degree or another. But, fresh from easily looking the strongest of the Super Bowl movie ads, J.J. Abrams' secretive "Super 8" has finally debuted a full clip, and it looks just as great.
Kicking off with the logo for Amblin Entertainment, Steven Spielberg's mostly defunct production company which serves as a kind of byword for a certain kind of family-driven entertainment, seems like as good a statement of intent as any, and the kind of kid-friendly sci-fi-romance-comedy-horror blend that J.J. Abrams has been promising is most in evidence in this clip than in the others.
It's lending quite heavily on atmosphere, a tease more than a hard sell, and that's kind of the way we like it -- there's more than enough to hook us, but we don't feel that we've already seen the whole movie, and in an ideal world, this would be all the footage we'd see before the film's release, although it's probably unlikely. Abrams' directorial skills, which took a big leap in "Star Trek," seem to have developed further -- he's channeling Spielberg, to be sure, but there are worse people to channel.
The period details are engrossing, but without being over-egged (indeed, the closest thing we can compare it to is a sci-fied up version of "Freaks & Geeks"), the cast look strong, and there's a mix of awe and wonder in just about a perfect balance. Maybe it's lacking the single iconic money shot that so many summer trailers rely on, but it seems that Abrams is happy to do things in a more old fashioned way here.
It remains to be seen whether "Super 8" will be able to compete against its better-known competition -- it's certainly fighting an uphill battle, but few people have their pulse so firmly on the audience than Abrams, and we're confident that it'll capture people's imaginations. We'll find out when the film hits theaters on June 10th. [HitFix]