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Rating: B- • Elle Fanning • Entertainment • Gabriel Basso • J.
is a Steven Spielberg homage/rip-off produced by Spielberg himself.
There’s a scene that uses the clicking of a gas station meter in such an ingenious manner that I couldn’t help but grin.
And, as always, Michael Giacchino provides an outstanding score.
Unfortunately, Abrams has difficulty following Giacchino’s lead.
The lens flare that was slightly annoying in because it just cuts the frame in awkward places and serves as a distraction from a story that wants to be grounded in small town Americana and genuine emotions.
As for the fantastical elements, there are times when practical effects would have better served the film (especially in close-ups of the creature when it’s not scuttling around), but that’s a minor complaint. It’s an honorable goal and I respect Abrams for attempting to make a film that stands alongside those beloved movies.
Charles asks Alice (Elle Fanning) to act in their movie and Joe clearly has a crush on her, which is problematic since she’s the daughter of Louis Dainard (Ron Eldard), the guy Jackson holds responsible for his wife’s death. It’s loud, hectic, but well-shot and well-edited so you can always follow what’s happening and where characters are in relation to each other.
But these personal troubles fade into the background when the group, while shooting a movie near the train tracks, witnesses a massive derailment. The kids are told to keep quiet about what they’ve seen by the man who caused the wreck, their science teacher with a secret past, Old Man Woodward (not the movie’s strongest plot point).