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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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Super Great! (No, I don't care how cheesy that sounds.)

  • Jun 14, 2011
Written and Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler and Ron Edlard
J.J. Abrams, the man behind the polarizing television series, “Lost” and the stellar STAR TREK reboot from a couple years back, longs for simpler times in his latest adventure, SUPER 8. The film has been shrouded in secrecy and mystery since it was announced, which I imagine excited Abrams a great deal, and it is finally time to see what all the fuss is about. Is it another big budget thrill ride from start to finish? Or will it be a long, meandering mess of confusion that doesn’t necessarily go anywhere at all? With Abrams, you never know what you’re going to get until you get it and people are never really in agreement once they have it either. With SUPER 8 though, you’re going to get something altogether new for the director – a fun time for all.
It is 1979 and a handful of geeky kids are set for the summer of their lives in Lillian, Ohio, making a zombie movie with their super-8mm camera. Their naiveté draws the viewer into their world and suddenly Abrams’ longing for a time when kids were perfectly amused riding bikes and playing with model trains, is ours as well. The tricky thing about child-like innocence though is that you never know when it will be taken away. Joe Lamb (played by impressive first-timer, 15-year-old, Joel Courtney) already knows how it feels to have his world crash like a massive train wreck, having just lost his mother in a freak accident. So by the time he actually witnesses an actual derailment, he is better prepared than his filmmaker cohorts to deal with the wreckage. There is no way he could be ready to deal with what they find amongst the debris though. And believe me, there will be times when you won’t know how to deal with it either. It’s quite scary.
Most people expected SUPER 8 to be simple homage to the film’s executive producer, Steven Spielberg, king of the family adventure film. While the influence is undeniable, the execution contains a more modern understanding of emotional communication. Films like E.T. and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND are event pictures that commanded attention but the depth in SUPER 8 is at times completely flooring. For instance, Joe has a crush on a girl he shouldn’t, Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning). Their fathers (Kyle Chandler and Ron Eldard) are messed up and can’t stand each other but these two can’t help but gravitate towards each other. In one scene, while watching footage of Joe’s deceased mother on a projector, Alice says through her tears, “I know I don’t know you at all, even though it feels like I do.” It is as if they’re discovering themselves and healing their hurt right before our eyes. It is truly moving.
SUPER 8 can be called a tribute and be proud to wear the moniker but the truth of it is that Abrams’ latest is a unique experience unto itself. It is often frightening and tense, surprisingly touching and contains some of the most massive special effects extravagance I’ve seen. Perhaps what it shares most in common with Spielberg’s earlier works is that it too demands to be seen and experienced in theatres, sitting amongst family and friends. It is an event that is utterly thrilling and yet somehow manages great insight and comfort as well – a rare feat as I’m sure we can all agree. In the end, watching these kids come of age made me wish my eyes were still just as wide as theirs. Thanks to SUPER 8, for a couple of hours, they actually were.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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Super Great! (No, I don't care how cheesy that sounds.) Super Great! (No, I don't care how cheesy that sounds.) Super Great! (No, I don't care how cheesy that sounds.)

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June 14, 2011
hey, Joseph! Very cool review. I especially liked this line: "execution contains a more modern understanding of emotional communication". Very well done write up! I mean you have me pondering some things in a different manner now.
June 17, 2011
Thanks a lot, man! That's awesome. I'm gonna check your review out on the weekend hopefully. I really liked the emotions these children shared with us. I read someone's review referring to how Abrams really knows how to make you care about characters and it's true. The openings of Star Trek, Lost and Super 8 are all about loss and moving on simultaneously. It's how he gets ya!
June 17, 2011
Your review is making me re-think what I felt about this flick. I mean, that is awesome. I love comparing notes with people!
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 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 …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #26
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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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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