Set in 1979, and the U.S. Air Force has closed a section of Area 51 and ordered all materials be transported to a secure facility in Ohio when an accident causes the train transporting the materials to crash and an unidentified creature escaped.
At the heart of “Super 8,” are six kids in a 1970s Ohio steel town whose summer dreams of making their first Super 8 monster movie masterpiece are suddenly interrupted. After witnessing a horrific train accident, the mysterious events surrounding the crash reverberates through their friendships, their families and forever alters the way they view their lives. And, if the heart of “Super 8″ is the group of kids, the soul behind “Super 8″ are two filmmakers who themselves cut their own teeth on 8mm movie-making when they were younger. J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg both discovered filmmaking in their childhoods, making Super 8 and 8mm format movies (respectively), which laid the groundwork for all of their big-screen adventures today. As a director, Abrams is known for melding character, humor and suspense within his films “Mission: Impossible III” and “Star Trek.” Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker behind some of the most successful and memorable movies of all time including “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” has been an inspiration to Abrams since he was a kid. It was their mutual love of Super 8 films (and a little bit of fate) that would bring these two filmmakers together again and again. Growing up, Abrams first discovered the joys of a Super 8 camera — a format introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1965 — at the age of 8, when he began shooting his home movies themed around the things that he loved as a boy: chases, battles and monsters. A few years later, Abrams and close childhood friend Matt Reeves (director of “Cloverfield”) had entered films in a Super 8 film festival and were featured in a Los Angeles Times article entitled, “The Beardless Wonders.” Shortly thereafter, they were approached by Spielberg’s assistant (then Kathleen Kennedy) and asked if they’d be interested in repairing Spielberg’s old 8mm movies; ones he had filmed during his own childhood. When JJ was just 15 years old, he and Matt Reeves took a job cutting together Steven’s 8mm home movies. What initially inspired them both would draw the two together again many years later. “We started talking about the kinds of films we love to see and also about the kinds of film we’d love to make together someday. We landed immediately on our mutual history of making 8mm films. We both thought it would be cool to make a movie about young people having an adventure making movies,” recalls Spielberg. Abrams wanted to create “Super 8″ in the tradition of the movies he fell in love with: quintessential tales set in a community where the daily struggles of work, love and family might seem ordinary until they are abruptly interrupted by extraordinary, frightening and fantastical events.