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Super 8

A 2011 movie directed by J.J. Abrams.

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Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie.

  • Apr 1, 2012
Rating:
+2
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 Alice (Elle Fanning) for a role (she can drive and they need a car), Joe starts to learn what puberty can do to a fella.
 
We’re off on a small town adventure of stealth movie making, improvisation, determination, spontaneity and, as far as I know, effective zombie acting. One night when the kids have sneaked away from their homes to film a night scene at the railway station, Charles sees a train coming. “Production values!” he happily exclaims and sets up the scene so the train roaring by will be in his movie. Bad luck. A truck drives onto the tracks and smashes head on into the train. There’s a massive derailment only Hollywood CGI can create. It goes on and on.
 
Now the young moviemakers are center stage in a new movie, this one about an alien creature captured by the Air Force and in the charge of a particularly ruthless colonel and his men. This movie is made to insure a hit with that real-life demographic, the 16 through 28 crowd. Yes, in the crash the alien, which looks something like a quick-stepping giant tarantula crossbred with the real mama from hell in Alien, escapes. Thanks to a couple of film cartons the kids dropped as they ran from the crash, the colonel figures out someone might have seen too much and filmed it. Soon dogs run away from town, engines from cars are stolen, electronic gear disappears and people vanish, all in clouds of wowzer and predictable special effects.
 
In the course of Super 8 we’ll follow young Joe through adventures that now are by the numbers…evacuations, tanks, house explosions, great caverns, missing townspeople including Alice hanging upside down waiting to become alien snacks, Joe’s face-to-face heroism with the big bug, and one of the most non-thrilling examples of spaceship building in any movie. Although the alien looks like something really big that escaped from an insect zoo, it turns out that, despite its chomping down on people with slobber and lots of teeth, it’s really just a guy (or woman) who is scared and lonely, who has been treated badly by the Air Force, and just wants to build a spaceship so it can go home.
 
JJ Abrams creates a warm, nostalgic story about kids back in the Seventies who are energetically making a movie while keeping it secret from adults. The kid actors do a fine, believable job and we like them. Their small town is a great place to live in. Charles’ family is a wonderful mix of love and chaos. We’re hooked with these kids and with Charles’ movie. And all this just becomes loose ends. (We do get to see Charles’ movie during the credits…like an afterthought.
 
In his determination to win a big audience, Abrams sacrifices all that in favor of by-the-numbers demographic pandering and CGI. Abrams worked for Steven Spielberg for a while and Spielberg is a producer of Super 8. Spielberg’s influence is all over the movie. If you liked The Goonies, which I do, you’ll like a third of Super 8, a movie with no center, just calculation.
Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie. Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie. Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie. Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie. Let's make a hit, says JJ Abrams. So much for making a good movie.

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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 . 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 …
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. O. DeRiemer ()
Ranked #33
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … 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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