Feb 072012

Director: J.J. Abrams

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 112 minutes

Release Date: 6/10/2011

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Cast: Deputy Jack Lamb (Kyle Chandler), Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), Charles (Riley Griffiths), Alice (Elle Fanning), Preston (Zack Mills), Martin (Gabriel Basso), Cary (Ryan Leo)

In 1979, while making a zombie movie with his friends late at night at a deserted train station, teenager Joe  Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his friends witness a horrible train derailment.  The kids soon discover that the accident was really not an accident at all and that the train was carrying mysterious objects.  The Air Force soon enters the small town of Lillian, Ohio and begins searching for a secret that might be related to the disappearance of electronics and townspeople.

At the same time, Joe must work out some problems with this father Jack Lamb (Kyle Chandler).  Joe’s mother had just died and Jack is having a hard time being both mother and father to Joe.  There is also the issue of  Joe’s girlfriend ,Alice’s  (Elle Fanning), father being involved with Joe’s mother’s death.   Once those issues are cleared up, it is up to Joe and his friends to figure out what is going on with the town and hope that the can eventually finish their movie.

I am a few years younger than the kids in this film and from what I can remember, I think that JJ Abrams did a good job portraying life at the time.  He did great work with picking locations that looked like 1979, especially the houses.  Joe’s kitchen looks just like my parents kitchen still does today!  All of the props were great too, but  I was a bit worried about the mention of a Rubik’s cube.  I looked it up and they had been invented, but I am still not 100% sure that they were readily available in 1979.

The interaction between Joe and his friends is done really well with the swearing, the playful  ribbing that sometimes goes too far the use of the word “Mint”.  I can remember everything cool being called mint in the early 80s.

I only had a few problems with the film.  The worst was the annoying use of the blue lens flare.  Almost all of the night scenes had annoying blue lines emanating from lights, but often the light source was not visible.  I have paid attention to other films and noticed lens flare, but it is never that bad.  My other issue was the secret in the film, but even though it has been out for awhile, I will not spoil it.  I will just say that I was slightly let down by that part of the film.

Even though the mystery wasn’t completely amazing, I enjoyed this film and have seen it twice now.  If you see it, don’t forget to sit though the credits and watch the movie Joe and his friends made during the film, it is really entertaining!


Frank’s Ratings


Characters 4
Story 4
Special Effects 5
Would Watch Again? 4
Average  4.25


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