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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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Super 8 is a nostalgic reminiscence of the old-school cinema

  • Jun 29, 2011

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 a small Ohio town in the summer of 1979. These kids are shooting their own film about some zombie attacks in their town. While filming this little project, they witness a mysterious train crash and begin to look more into the details behind this strange event. At first they try to use this event as "production value" for their film so they start shooting around scenes from the upper hills surrounding the area where the train crashed. After a while they realize that this event is much more than a train crash considering the huge military deployment in that area and then in their town. Our main character, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), lives a solitary life even though he is surrounded by his close friends because recently his mom passed away and his issues with his father Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler), who was also the sheriff in their town, continued even after her death. As time goes by, Joe really goes crazy about this girl Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning) which he meets while filming his friend's movie. The problem is that Alice's father is actually held responsible by Joe's father for his wife's death. Therefore, the problems within the family I early mentioned. However, they venture themselves into an atmospheric and tense journey of finding the truth behind the weird accident especially after they see what their camera filmed during that crash. Apparently the camera shot an alien life-form that escaped the train during the accident. From that point on everything else becomes an exciting and tense chase after the secrets and clues of what this creature was and what it wanted.

The film is clearly a mirror of old-school filming. We have a lot of beautiful emotional moments, we get to see a wonderful relationship built between these kids, the chemistry is there and it feels natural while the tense and emotional atmosphere folds on you like a warm coat. We don't have that much action, matter of fact, we barely have any action at all. Everything happens around these kids or at least happens through the eyes of these kids and through the choices they make. It's a wonderful incident captured through the eyes of some local teenagers who, naturally, are less scared than the adults and more curious about the unknown. This film deals with all the emotional levels a human could have and presents a neutral image of the influences an event like this could have or could have had on a small town like that but especially on few adventurous kids. This movie has heart and besides J.J. Abrams good dialogue and storytelling you can definitely see Spielberg's influence in capturing the perfect emotions and setting the perfect chilling, relaxing and warm but also tense atmosphere this movie has.

The acting is great for these kids. They really get along and we get a sense of real friendship that's happening on screen. Sure, this movie has it's little flaws and it's little exaggerated moments. For example I was a little bit disappointed in the first 15 minutes thanks to something that in real life would barely happen and it bothered me because this movie felt real and I wanted it to stay the same but since there are chances of that moment happening in real life then I thought I should skip it and wait to see where the story will go. At the end I wasn't disappointed at all.

Great cinematography, great editing, great contrast and lightning, great reminiscences of the retro era of sci-fi mysterious films. It felt like E.T. again and the score composed by Michael Giacchino is magnificent and helps building that tense and emotional atmosphere. The old-school songs fit all the scenes and nothing feels like a commercial way of selling more tickets. This film really proves that J.J. Abrams is on the right track even though he still has to learn some tricks in order to really make that one film that everyone will remember. Super 8 is definitely a breath of fresh air and a relaxing way of spending your time at the movies. It's powerful, it's emotional, it's tense, it's retro, it's wonderful shot but most of all, it's a great warm summer movie different than your regular bing-bang flicks. I honestly recommend this to anyone who enjoys more than just stupid action and to anyone that identifies with common sense, that loves simplicity as beauty or that is an adventurer through life alone.

Storyline/Dialogue: 8/10.
Acting: 7.5/10.
Technical Execution: 8,6/10.
Replay Value: 8/10.
Overall: 8,0

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June 30, 2011
Thanks! It has nothing to do with Cloverfield. Very very different.
June 30, 2011
Wow, great review! Your thoughts actually surprise me, when I first heard of this film, I thought it was going to be another Cloverfield and I hated that film. So, I consciously stayed away from this one but, maybe I'll have to give it a go! Thanks for sharing :)
June 29, 2011
I liked this film but I liked only half of what the film was. I really liked the teenage themes and the acting was good; but once I started to really break it down, the monster aspects of it were very flimsy. Still a good movie, I just thought that it wasn't as advertised and it is hard for me to like a film when I look through a ' gimmick filter' (or one may say). Enjoyed the review!
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 . 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 …
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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Julian Left ()
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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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