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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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  • Jan 10, 2012
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 pieces of electronics and machinery are stolen. Oh, and the military has moved in and blocked off the area around the train crash. While watching footage that was shot on the night of the crash, Joe and his friends make a startling discovery. The boys attempt to finish their movie while at the same time solving the mystery of the alien creature.

SUPER 8 is a sci-fi movie that has very little to do with sci-fi. Instead, the movie is more of an action movie drama that's about relationships. The core of the movie is about the relationship between Joe and his friends. They are a close knit group of companions, but you know that after high school they will go their separate ways, perhaps some of them never to meet again. At the same time, you know that some of the friends will be friends throughout life.

Besides being a movie about the relationship between childhood friends, SUPER 8 is also a movie about family. The movie begins in an incredibly depressing manner with the death of Joe's mother, her funeral, and the immediate aftermath. After her death, Joe and his dad (Kyle Chandler) attempt to hold on while forging ahead; adjusting to the new normal after the death of a close loved one is extremely difficult. There's also the relationship between Joe's love interest, Alice (Elle Fanning) and her own father (Ron Eldard). In a completely different vein, there's also the budding relationship between Joe and Alice. Oh, and there's the whole thing about our own relationship as humanity with other creatures (in this case an extraterrestrial creature).

I really enjoyed SUPER 8. It's one of my favorite movies from 2011. The movie was directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. I felt the film was a decent film on its own. It's a nice little story with some great moments of acting. However, what sticks out most about the movie is the overwhelming since of nostalgia that swathes every inch of the film like a college dorm reeking of potpourri incense. The movie isn't just a homage to the late 1970s and early 1980s, it's a full blown love song that blares out over Abrams's film boom box as he stands outside Steven Spielberg's office. There were a lot of movies made in the 1980s that were Spielbergian in tone or style. However, in the past twenty years, not even Steven Spielberg has made many Spielbergian movies. SUPER 8 resurrects the Spielbergian-style of filmmaking. The movie pays homage to a slew of other films (and in some cases outright steals from some): E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and THE GOONIES are easily the largest influences. However, there are several others including JURASSIC PARK, JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD, JAWS, GREMLINS, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Also, the zombie movie the boys are making, "The Case" has several references to George Romero and his zombie films.

Like most of Steven Spielberg's and J.J. Abram's previous works, not everyone will enjoy SUPER 8. It has a broad appeal, but the tone and style won't appeal to everyone (probably most particularly those over the age of sixty). Nevertheless, most viewers will find something to enjoy in SUPER 8 especially if they focus on the relationship between the characters and not the overall story.

The DVD of SUPER 8 doesn't include many extras. There's the usual commentary with director J.J. Abrams and some of his crew. Done correctly, this often can be one of the most rewarding extras of a DVD. However, in this case, the commentary is incredibly boring. Abrams and his buddies croon about Spielberg throughout, there are long pauses throughout where there is no commentary or discussion, and there really isn't any new information revealed that wasn't already available in the promotional materials for the movie and DVD. The other special features include a short featurette with Abrams and his crew entitled "The Dream Behind SUPER 8". That featurette was more exciting that the DVD commentary. There's another featurette entitled "The Visitor Lives: Creating the Creature" that features the main creature designer for the alien. This is an interesting look at the process of how the alien came to be created. Lastly, there are a series of trailers for upcoming and soon-to-be released movies.

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January 14, 2012
I had mixed feelings about this. I mean, I didn't hate it, but it was just..I dunno, it didn't give me a good experience. I felt it was too familiar. Nice write up and thanks for posting it in Movie Hype!
January 10, 2012
Sorry, but the film was utter dreck. And not the good kind.
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 . June 18, 2011
4 Stars: Something this way comes
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  …
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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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.

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


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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