Best Action Sequence of 2011: The train crash from “Super 8”

It has been outgrossed by 15 other movies so far this year – even “Rio” and “The Smurfs,” God help us, made more money – but there isn’t a moment to hit the multiplexes this year that was as jaw-dropping, as pulse-pounding, as the scene J.J. Abrams stages in “Super 8,” where his plucky filmmakers witness a collision between a military train and a pickup truck that ends all sorts of ugly for everyone involved. Well, the kids get out unscathed, at least physically. Mentally, they all officially came of age, whether they wanted it or not.

Back to the point, though: that train scene beats the hell out of the latest “Transformers” movie when it comes to packing the thrills. Sure, there was that one sweet scene with Sam getting jettisoned out of, and back into, Bumblebee, but for a two-and-a-half-hour movie, your best scene should be longer than 10 seconds, don’t you think? Abrams certainly thought so, which is why he made sure the train crash packed a wallop.

Come on, you didn’t think we’d show you the whole thing, did you?

Seriously, if you didn’t see “Super 8,” it is definitely worth picking up when it hits shelves next week for this scene alone – there is even a massive bonus feature dedicated to every possible aspect of the train sequence that you can imagine, along with a few you can’t imagine – but while the boys and the alien are the main focus of the story, just try to take your eyes off of Elle Fanning, as she basically takes the entire cast to school with no less than three showstopping scenes, which are (Warning! Spoilers ahead):

1. Her first rehearsal for Charles’ movie is so powerful that the extra who’s supposed to be talking on the phone in the background forgets to keep talking and instead stares at Alice (Fanning’s character), mouth agape.

2. Her zombie impression. Flawless.

3. Her tearful confession to Joe that his mom took her dad’s shift after he had called in drunk.

While we didn’t know anyone, ANYONE, who used the word ‘mint’ as slang for cool or great back then (or even now), Abrams captured something special with “Super 8.” It would be a pity for the movie to get lost in the shuffle.


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