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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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Lens flares for all!

  • Jun 16, 2011
Rating:
+3
Back when I was growing up there was a young filmmaker known for great movies like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial. These were wonderful movies. The first was scary, the second was thought-provoking and the third was excellent family entertainment. As the 1980's came along, this filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, made other fine works, like the Indiana Jones series and in the 1990's gave us Jurassic Park. Then he discovered World War II, and that was basically then end of him making "genre" films that appealed to a wide audience.

But apparently I wasn't the only one who had fond memories of Spielberg's earlier career. JJ Abrams, noted as the man who made Lost and directed the Star Trek reboot, seems to also have those sorts of good memories. So he teamed up with Spielberg and made Super 8, a film which, aside from the modern special effects, would not seem out of place in Spielberg's resume.

Super 8 centers around events in small-town Ohio in 1979. Joe Lamb is a young boy whose mother has died at the start of the film. Four months later he and his friends are making a zombie movie when they inadvertently bear witness to a massive (and extremelyunrealistic), train derailment. They escape with their lives, unaware that something else has escaped, too. Soon all the town's dogs disappear, only to turn up in nearby towns. The Air Force arrives to clean up the train mess and begins basically overtaking the town (and get away with massive lies, because if there's one thing we know about the 1970's, it's that investigative journalism didn't really exist and trust in the government was absolute). Then various items and people start to disappear and the action gets ramped-up to eleven, leading to an unnecessarily action-heavy third act.

At its core this is a movie about the relationship between a young boy, his friends and a girl that he's starting to develop a crush on. The movie is at its finest when it shows these kids just being kids. When it shows them hanging out chatting in a diner and teasing each other like kids do. When it shows them sneaking out of their homes to film at night. When it shows them being appalled/overjoyed that they're actually breaking into their school during summer vacation. These moments, as well as the ones highlighting Joe's somewhat complicated relationship with his father, also the town deputy and person in charge after the sherrif disappears), are the true heart of the film.

Those moments also make the moments of action, which include the military going nuts in the middle of the town, completely unnecessary. Those scenes add nothing to the plot, really, aside from creating some artificial peril for our heroes to deal with. Really one could edit out all the military elements and be left with a good, solid, summer science fiction film for the whole family. Also, having gone nuts with the action sequence, I feel that Abrams missed a really opportunity to kill off one of the kids. Harsh? Maybe, but it might have added something to the film. But consider the one of the pivotal moments of Jaws is when a six-year-old boy is gruesomely eaten by the shark.

I also need to make mention of Abrams as a director. He's good at what he does. He's very good at what he does. But he's never met a lens flare he didn't like, and frankly it's really, really distracting. If you thought scenes in Star Trek overused the lens flare, just you wait. Abrams really goes nuts with it in this movie and it does not add anything to the film.

Ultimately this is a very good movie, and I'd said it's suitable for pretty much the entire family.

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July 30, 2011
Thanks for this review! I need to rethink my stance on this when I see it again on dvd.
 
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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 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
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this movie

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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