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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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4 Stars: Something wicked this way comes

  • Jun 18, 2011
Rating:
+5

There are some things in this world that  humanity was never meant to  understand, never meant to  find out the truth, never meant to  grasp the reality of something more than the world  that we have built for ourselves and the prefabricated lies that we have been feed to make us believe the singular truth. The one all consuming truth that  in this world, in this universe we are the only life that exist, we are the only thing that lives and that Earth, our home  is the only planet in this universe that can sustain life. Now let me as you this, what if the prefabricated truth that you have always believed turned out to be the lie that you so   justly dismissed. What if the lies were the truth and the truths were the lies, what if everything you thought about there being life out there in the universe was right. What if the truth about all of this was not only within your reach, but also in your own backyard, the answers to these questions may seem insurmountable or even irrefutable at best but to find the truth you first must have to find your belief in the truth, because the truth is never what is seems and the lies are always what they appear to be.


As the lights dimmed in the theater at my viewing of J.J. Abrams' new Science-Fiction film "Super 8,” I didn't know what to expect. I had heard very little chatter about this mysterious film and knew little to nothing about its story which was shrouded in mystery so with my limited knowledge I walked into this film blind, not knowing what to expect, and as I sat there marveling in the  beauty and grandeur of this spellbinding and hypnotic film. I realized that not knowing what to expect made the experience all the more extraordinary. J.J. Abrams(Lost , Alias, Fringe, Star Trek) has crafted a touching, wonderful and gorgeous tribute to small town America and  to the great  classic summer blockbuster's of   Steven Spielberg  namely "Close Encounters of The Third Kind",  "Jaws" and "E.T. : Extraterrestrial". "Super 8" evokes a sense of time and place  when things were a little simpler and people were not as hostile or as violent as they are today,  it evokes the  small town appeal present in  many Capra  and Spielberg   films. The kind of small town appeal where everyone knows each other by name, where the people are friendly and the skies are as blue as the ocean. This is a film for the film lover inside of all of us, a true film that is not only frightening, emotional, action packed and humorous but has the scope of and ideals of films from the Golden Era that have been lost on most modern filmmakers. The  emotional depth of this film is what  makes it the most shocking, it took me by surprise because naturally I did not expect those kinds of feelings to be present in a film with such an obvious  premise,  this at its surface is and foremost a monster movie. If you walk in expecting some big budget, over the top, shoot'em up than I must kindly point you in the direction of Mr. Michael Bay because this is not the film for you.” Super 8" is a film with a heart, with a soul it just doesn't go for the action it goes for something much more meaningful and deep, it makes a connections with its characters that the audience can feel, can understand. The characters are not just in service of the plot and the special effects but rather the special effects and the plot are at the service of the characters, and what fine characters they are at that. J.J. Abrams has surpassed all that he has done before  to create and  affectionate and heartfelt as well as scary  Sci-Fi drama/thriller  that not only pays homage to classic films but also proudly flaunts its humanitarian ideals on how  even a creature form another world should be treated as an equal.


What I found most profound is how this film was skillfully able to balance the thrills with the human drama. So many films these days try and fail miserably to balance the human complexity within their story with the hard, edgy thrills and chills of its  plot most films try and most of the time they fail, mainly due to the fact that they are more focused on the  thrills and chills instead of the human condition of the characters. "Super 8" balances all three with sure hands, intelligence, and grace; this film takes pride its story, in its characters and most importantly in itself. This film takes joy in its story and in bringing it to life; it just does not go through the motions like most films of recent years. This is a movie made by an intelligent man who not only knows what movie making is about but understands it is more than  just special effects, beautiful women, big explosions and loud action sequences. It's about the plot, the story and the characters and Abrams knows this, he knows that movies can not all be just superficial they have to have some life to it, they have to have a heart a soul to call it's own and "Super 8" has a rather large heart that is three sizes bigger than it should be and all through out this affectionate production it shows its love for the cinema, Spielberg and for life, whether it be human or not.



Joel Courtney turns in a strong performance as Joe Lamb the obligatory geek who has to step up to the plate and become the savior of his hometown. Courtney shows much potential as the hero of this story and while he may lack depth as an actor due to his age he shows strong potential throughout that, he may become a fine actor one day. Courtney gives some added innocence and childlike delight to a rather dark film, his  presences is a reminder of that of Henry Thomas' Elliot  from Spielberg's timeless classic "E.T. ", and while "Super 8" in its way feels like "E.T." it has the distinction of having a hero who is as brave as he is selfless. Courtney's Joe is a brave, smart, shy, and geeky eleven-year-old boy who is somewhat of an outsider amongst the other kids of the town, mainly due to his father being a deputy in the local Sheriff's office. Joe is a more complex character than you would think, he just does not run around in service of the plot, he is an integral part of the plot; he is what makes the story what it is. Without a strong lead performance, this film would have fallen apart at the seams and disintegrated into a regular old monster film. Thanks to him and strong supporting work from a young cast elevates "Super 8" to greatness that would have been lost on it if in other less talented hands. The rest of the cast including Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Zach Mills, Ryan Lee and Gabriel Basso all turn in stellar supporting work in this masterful Science-Fiction tale.





"Super 8" is not only one of the first great films in many a summer, but it is one of the best Science-Fiction films to come out in the last  ten  years. This bold, big, and heartfelt film has the feel of an indie gem fused with the technological wizardry of modern day filmmaking to create a masterpiece that not only evokes the classics films of old, but also sets itself firmly as one of Sci-Fi's best and brightest films. A true testaments to how the genre is suppose to be done.

4 Stars: Something this way comes

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September 24, 2011
I still need to see this.
 
June 19, 2011
"This is a film for the film lover inside of all of us, a true film that is not only frightening, emotional, action packed and humorous but has the scope of and ideals of films from the Golden Era that have been lost on most modern filmmakers." Quite a great commentary there and I enjoyed reading your review. I loved the human/teen aspects of it but I was a little disappointed about the aspects of the monster. A good film still, but I guess my review was more about me being jaded with this kind of movies by Abrams. Thanks, Lopez!!
June 20, 2011
Thank you very much. I can agree with you that Abrams does live for the theatrics when it comes to his films, It's what makes him so addicting as a filmmaker in the first place, it's the mystery of what his film is about. And as for the monster, if you don't mind me saying, I agree with you on that as well I liked it's initial design but I thought it resembled too much of that of a crab and there for made it a little unbelievable. But those are minor quibbles I have about this film, forgive me if I was being a little to extensive and protective of this film.
 
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More Super 8 (2011 film) reviews
review by . June 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
J.J. Abrams has mastery over marketing gimmicks and he knows exactly how to attract viewer attention. If you remember the ploy he pulled off with “Cloverfield” then you would know that he does the same thing with “Super 8”. He keeps the trailers vague as to tease and to arouse viewer interest. Well, Abrams is a great creator of cinematic hype but I have to say, this is not the movie as advertised. As much as I can appreciate the marketing skills of Abrams and his intentions …
review by . June 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
J.J. Abrams is a name that always raises eyes in the sci-fi community.  Teaming up with Spielberg, he first grew interest in Super 8 with one of the most remarkable trailers we've seen for a film of it's genre in a while.  Where so many trailers are hell bent on showing you as much of the movie as possible, the trailer for Super 8 only showed one small snippet that didn't actually spoil anything, but rather made people curious as to what exactly it was.  This marketing …
review by . April 01, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie.
JJ Abrams has made hit movies. Has he ever made a good movie? With Super 8, he wrote, directed and produced two movies, and sacrificed the good to make sure he had a hit.       Super 8 begins just fine, the story of a group of young teens making a movie about zombies. Charles (Riley Griffiths) is determined to enter his movie in a film contest. He’s the director and writer. Joe (Joel Courtney) is his best friend and make-up specialist.  When Charles recruits …
review by . February 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I had read Wookpak's review of this film an am definately in agreement. I have not seen The Goonies and or Cloverfield but I can say that there are a lot of similarities with this film to ET. A bunch of High School kids are filming a zombie movie in 1979. The mother of one of the boys (Joe Lamb) died in a factory accident. The boy's father (Jackson Lamb) is the sherriff and at his mother's wake we see the sherriff arresting a blond haired man (Louis Dainard) that came to visit. It turns out that …
review by . July 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     For each talented director, there is one film, or perhaps many films, that the man or woman was destined to direct. For J.J. Abrams, director of the recent reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, his film is "Super 8". I knew the man was talented as both a writer and a director; a sci-fi geek who is always ready to explode with knowledge and insight. He has a fondness of the works of Steven Spielberg. And now, he's made a film not only about his fondness, but …
review by . June 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Super 8 aspires to be a lot. After the first few scenes of the film you can see the attempts at the charm of Spielberg’s charm from the 80s and 90s trying it’s hardest to fuse with Abram’s sensibilities about portraying suspense on the screen and his way of establishing mystery. Super 8 isn’t a bad film, in fact I actually really liked it. However I don’t think it’s as good as it thinks it is, or even as good as collaboration between two of the strongest filmmakers …
review by . June 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Super 8 clearly distinguishes itself from the other summer movies in the last years by simply approaching the old-school style of filmmaking when the story, the atmosphere, the narration, the feeling counted more than the tons of exploding cars and buildings we get to see today. Super 8 is a nostalgic reminiscence of the old-school cinema, a piece of little emotional film that addresses audiences of all ages.      The story develops around this group of kids from …
review by . January 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Set during the summer of 1979 in a small town in Ohio, SUPER 8 revolves around Joe Lam (Joel Lamb) and his friends as they attempt to finish a Super 8 zombie movie for an upcoming Super 8 Film Festival. While filming one night at the local train station, the boys and the star actress of their production are witness to and somewhat involved with a horrible train accident that unleashes a mysterious creature. Soon after, all the dogs in the town run away, people start disappearing, and all kinds of …
review by . June 14, 2011
It won't be for everyone, it won't be for those looking for sci-fi action flick. It is a fair expectation from the few details we gathered from the trailer. In that regard it has every opportunity to let you down, but if you are looking for strong story telling with a loving nod to film makers delivered in the hands of children than you are in for a treat. It has been a while since a movie has come out without any marks of irony, sarcasm, and pop culture references leaving only a well done …
review by . June 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Going into a Steven Spielberg film, we expect a number of distinctive thematic elements: Ordinary characters in extraordinary situations; strained parent/child relationships, especially between fathers and sons; a childlike inquisitiveness at the unexplainable; friendship, the loss of innocence, and coming of age; overt sentimentalism; and in some cases, excitement/awe/terror at the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Super 8, produced by Spielberg, …
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C.R. Lopez ()
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Member Since: Nov 6, 2009
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Wiki

Abrams has refused to reveal the plot of the film as he wants to keep it a mystery and let the images speak for themselves.[citation needed] What has been confirmed is that it will take place in 1979 and it will be a homage/tribute to Spielberg's '70s and '80s science fiction films with a mystery and supernatural feel from Abrams.

Abrams revealed the plot will follow a group of children in the 1970s as they film a movie with a Super 8 camera but while they are filming, they spot an alien escape from an Area 51 cargo train and it runs loose in their small town.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_8_(film)

Few filmmakers have ever had a run at the tables like Steven Spielberg, whose output from 1971'sSugarland Expressto, say, 1982'sE.T.displayed an amazingly unforced melding of huge set pieces and small human gestures. Even at their most chaotic, they somehow felt organic.Super 8, writer-director J.J. Abrams's authorized tribute to classic Spielbergisms, hits all of the marks (Lived-in suburbia backdrop, check. Awestruck gazes upwards, check. Parental discord, check. Lens flares, amazingly huge check), but its adherence to the formula squelches much of its own potential. Appealing as it is to see a summer movie that retro-prioritizes character development over jittery quick-cut explosions, the viewer is always aware at how furiously it's working to seem effortless. Set in 1979, Abrams's script follows a group of movie-crazy kids ...
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Tags

Movies, Movie, Steven Spielberg, Jj Abrams, Science Fiction Films

Details

Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: 10 June 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: J.J. Abrams
Runtime: 112 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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