If the best advice for aspiring writers is always “write what you know,” then Super 8 demonstrates the time-honored wisdom of those words. The film’s creative team — including writer/director J.J. Abrams and cinematographer Larry Fong — cut their teeth as teen collaborators on no-budget movies shot on Super 8 film in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Those experiences lend warmth and authenticity to their sci-fi thriller about a group of filmmaking kids in 1979 who stumble upon a terrible military secret. Super 8 also looks and feels like a product of that era, the natural offspring of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. That Steven Spielberg serves as a co-producer further enhances its credibility. The Blu-ray retains all of the movie's retro cinematic glory, with the rich textures and warm colors of a simpler time. And the 7.1 mix delivers a deep, spacious sound field that wasn’t even possible in theaters in ’79. The director-and-crew commentary is self-conscious and dull, but the documentary segments smartly focus on the film’s wonderful kids, mostly first-time actors, whose energy and innocence help make Super 8 shine.
Video: 1080p, 2.40:1. Audio: Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Extras: commentary by director J.J. Abrams, co-producer Bryan Burk, and cinematographer Larry Fong; “Deconstructing the Train Crash,” an interactive look; “The Dream Behind Super 8,” “The Search for New Faces,” “The 8mm Revolution,” and 5 more featurettes; 14 deleted scenes.