In 1979, in the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio, a preteen boy named Joe Lamb is trying to cope with the recent death of his mother, who was killed in a factory accident. Much to the frustration of his father, the town's deputy sheriff, Joe copes by immersing himself in a project lead by his best friend, Charles. That project is a horror film, shot on a SUPER 8 camera, and Charles has enlisted the help of not only Joe, but the rest of his misfit friends, and has surprised everyone by talking Alice Dainard, the prettiest girl in school, into playing the hero's wife. On the night of the <more>
first big shoot, the would be filmmaker witness a train crash. Pretty soon, the town of Lillian is swarmed by military men, who won't tell anybody what is going on. Abrams and Spielberg may be the only two people in Hollywood who still know how to keep a secret, so I won't spoil that by going into the plot too much further. But I will say that Super 8 lives up to every bit of hype and expectation surrounding it. This is a beautifully crafted, emotional, funny, scary, thrilling movie that enthralls an audience the ways Spielberg's 80s classics did. And this is coming from someone who has been accused of "worshipping" Spielberg. Abrams has recreated the look and feel of vintage Spielberg expertly, down to the last detail. For a Spielberg fan, it's an absolute joy to behold.But Abrams somehow manages to do this without completely sacrificing his own unique voice as a filmmaker. It's got the twists and turns of Lost, the personality of his Star Trek, and, like most Abrams projects, a leading lady who propels the whole thing. In this case, it's young Elle Fanning, who, as Alice, projects such a genuine combination of childlike innocence and ahead of her years maturity, that you can't take her eyes off of her whenever she's on screen. The entire cast is terrific, especially Joel Courtney as Joe, and Riley Griffiths as Charles, but Fanning steals the movie. We become completely involved with these characters in a way we rarely do with adult Hollywood heroes. I found myself caring every bit as much about the budding romance between Alice and Joe as I did the more spectacular events of the film.And it is spectacular. Abrams and Spielberg give us action/suspense scenes that evoke Spielberg's classics Jaws, Jurassic Park, and E.T. They also come as close to the emotion of E.T. as any film of this type has done since then. Super 8 is the kind of film for which the cliché "You''ll laugh, you'll cry" was invented. If you're a child of the 80s and complain that they don't make movies the way they did when you were a kid, well, Abrams and Spielberg have done exactly that.And Michael Giacchino further establishes himself as one of the best film composers to come along in years. His score soars with emotions and build suspense in the vein of of course John Williams.I also have to take a moment, as former amateur child filmmaker, to talk about how well rendered that aspect of the story is. It certainly added an extra level of enjoyment for me that I vividly remember the days of trying to make my own blockbusters with nothing but a camera, a few friends, and wildly overactive imagination.It's worth mentioning, by way of warning especially to parents that Super 8 is rated PG-13 for a reason, namely the intensity, and for an E.T./Goonies like tendency to have the kids swear. Most audiences will get past this, but certainly some will not, and I'm absolving myself of any complaints. Movies like this are the reason I love movies. In an age when trailers give away everything, Super 8 unfolds before us, capturing us in its spell, and never letting go. It's an unforgettable movie experience. A film to be treasured,
I was fortunate enough to see a screening this morning in DC. I had pretty high hopes for it from what I saw from the trailers. I don't lean one way or the other when it comes to Abrams, some of his stuff I like, some of it I don't. Super 8 is one that I loved. In the current era of CGI laden, soul-dead adventure flicks, Super 8 distinguishes itself by having heart. There is an authenticity to those kids in the film, a familiarity in their conversations. It reminded me of when I was a kid. It was like ET meets Goonies meets The Sandlot. And the film that they are trying to make within <more>
the film, and their obsession with "production values" draws a lot of laughs. The friendship between the kids in the film really resonates, and the emotional elements of the film totally deliver. One of the most poignant scenes in the film has nothing to do with whats in the train car, or the air force, and anything like that....rather, its a scene that takes place in Joe's bedroom as he sits on the floor talking to Alice. Now, as much as I loved the film, it is not without some flaws, mostly in continuity. Also, I would have liked a little more exposition for some of the characters, I would love to know more about Alice's father. That being said, I am forgiving on those things because the movie hits its mark everywhere else. Surely it will draw its comparisons to ET, and the other early Spielberg works, but those comparisons will always be unfair. Those films came at a different time. And the people who see Super 8 today, have changed since they first saw ET, or any of those other films. I am just glad the generation of younger people will have this as a generational film for them, as I had with those other great adventure films. All in all, Super 8 was a terrific film experience, that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Here's how I feel about it in one sweeping oversimplification: If you love movies, you're going to love this movie. That is of course unless you've grown cynical and bitter and can no longer tolerate genre-entertainment.It has everything I want in a movie. Adventure, action, suspense, humor, and relatable characters who experience things the way humans do. Sure, there were a couple moments at the end where I thought, "Really?", but Abrams and the gang were savvy enough to put almost every objection my overly-rational grown-up mind had throughout the picture and put <more>
skeptical words into the mouth of a nearby character, thereby stealing my ammunition.I don't think you need to love movies in order to enjoy this ride, but if you love movies or, especially, if you've ever made one of your own, I don't see how you could dislike it.Plus all the sci-fi-ish stuff was badass.
If there's one movie you shouldn't miss this year, it's Super 8 (by ptwomey)
If there's one movie you shouldn't miss this year, it's Super 8. There's more heart and soul in it's two hour running time than most mainstream movies could ever hope to conjure. It's the kind of film that reminds you of why you go to the movies.Reviewing a film like Super 8 isn't easy, there's simply too much material to cover and there is the delicate problem of giving too much away. Director JJ Abrams has gone to great lengths to keep the plot of his movie a secret, so much so that the film's resulting low profile may hurt it's box office take. <more>
He's the master of what he calls the "Mystery Box", he doesn't want to tell you what's in it, but he sure as hell wants you to enjoy opening it.The film is set in a small Ohio town in 1979, complete with bad fashion, hairstyles, and fantastic cars. It centres on Joe Lamb Joel Courtney , son of Deputy Sheriff Jackson Lamb Kyle Chandler , and the tragic events of that winter and how it changed his life. The film opens with one of the most chilling shots that will stay with you for a long time after the film, it's the kind of story telling you wish you could feel every time you went to the cinema.Four months later and Joe is helping his friend Charles Riley Griffiths finish a super 8 movie for an upcoming film competition, much to the displeasure of his disconnected father Jackson. Charles has managed to convince Alice Elle Fanning , an older girl whom Joe likes to play a part in his movie. All chuffed and excited they sneak out at night with their firiends Carey Ryan Lee , Preston Zach MIllso , and Martin Gabriel Basso to film a scene.While filming they witness a shocking crash, their high school science teacher driving his pickup truck onto the train tracks and smashing directly into an oncoming train. The heavily injured teacher, gun in hand, tells them to go and tell no one or they and their parents will die. It's a bit dramatic, but the swarming men in military uniforms convince the children to make a run for it and vow never to tell anyone that they were there.What follows is like a cross between The Goonies and E.T., and it doesn't fail to deliver. It's on the one hand a coming age story and on the other it's about dealing with grief. It's funny, scary, cheesy, and delightful all at the same time. The young and unknown cast are fantastic, they look comfortable and completely natural, with special mention to Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning sister of Dakota Fanning . Those two are mesmerizing sharing much of the more touching moments of the film, especially Fanning who has a very commanding presence for her age.It's not without it's problems true, Abrams must suffer from ADHD because he seems to love to blow things up even when it doesn't really make sense to. He's also a bit clumsy with some of the dialogue, but it's excusable because the rest of the film exudes a charisma I wish other Directors could master. I also think he's yet to master the elusive art of timing, particularly during the film's climax. He lacks a sense of pace when the plot demands it, and he under plays some action while overplaying others.There has also been some debate over the ending, but I think it's perfect, I think it's easy to forget what this film is really about, which might be the fault of the film itself. But you only need to listen to Abrams tell you that "Jaws isn't about a shark" or "E.T. isn't about an Alien" here to see that he wants to tell a story that's very human and with a lot of heart.Super 8 is an Abrams "Mystery Box" complete with a satisfying unveiling of the goodies inside. It's the best movie so far of 2011, and it's a real treat. You do not want to miss it!
Even a less than stellar ending can't weigh down this slice of movie magic (by awall008)
I was lucky enough to get to see Super 8 today at an advanced screening. I'd been excited for J. J. Abram's latest for months, but the result even exceeded my expectations. The secrecy of what happens to our group of middle schoolers is part of the film's appeal, so I won't spoil it. However, I will say that the first 4/5 of this film are an incredibly entertaining homage to the monster movies of the past. There's even mention of the Soviets invading! Real movie magic is created, kicked off by a breath-taking train crash sequence. Most of the middle school kids' <more>
performances are passable, but Elle Fanning stands out. She looks far older than she actually is, and acts as such. Her performance outshines even the adults around her. Unexpected humor is also present in the conversations that our heroes have. The wondrous, childlike aura of the film and its ending are expected from Spielberg, and it plays out a bit like ET + War of the Worlds + Cloverfield. This is a minor drawback, as the film focuses on the kids for the majority of its running time before suddenly switching gears at the end. Also, several plot lines, including the mother of our protagonist, run a little flat before they can fully develop. These problems being addressed, the ending doesn't quite live up to the extraordinarily high standards the rest of the film sets. It's not terrible, though! There is nothing else negative I can say about Super 8. It's hilarious, touching, scary, imaginative, and fun. And SO WELL EXECUTED. J. J. clearly knows how to make a movie, even if his writing isn't necessarily perfect. Without the few plot problems, Super 8 would be an Oscar contender. Unfortunately, I think that the Academy will look at Super 8 as nothing but above average summer fare. I will be seeing it again, however. And maybe again.
A wildly nostalgic and truly spectacular must-see event (by DonFishies)
As the marketing and hype started to build for Super 8, I decided to try my best to not watch any real trailers or promos for the film. It was a difficult task, but somehow I managed to pull off allowing the film to be a mystery leading into its release. When I got the opportunity to see the film in advance fell into my lap, I did not second guess the hype – I ran to the theatre as fast as I could. Taking place in the summer of 1979, Joe Lamb Joel Courtney is part of an atypical group of friends making a film to enter into a local film festival. While shooting on a train platform late one <more>
night, the group witnesses a horrific train crash. They survive the mysterious crash, and do not think much of it. But then strange things begin happening in the town, and the US military suddenly shows up to clean up the damage, not to mention some bizarre things are being recovered from the crash.I already feel like I have said too much regarding about Super 8, but my enthusiasm for this ridiculously well done film is too hard to contain. Abrams, alongside producer and obvious inspiration Steven Spielberg, has crafted something both special and truly extraordinary. What is on the outside a very keenly and nostalgically made film about the loss of innocence and the wonder of personal discovery, is also a period picture examining a time when the slightest enigmatic occurrence could lead to an accusation of Soviet invasion. Many will instantly equate the film to the early work of Spielberg himself not only because of the various homages , but this is a film that was never meant to draw such easy comparisons.With Super 8, Abrams has matured into a great filmmaker who is very quickly on their way to becoming a master of the craft. He tenderly embraces the format of a monster movie and the hard lessons behind growing up not unlike Joe Cornish's significantly grittier Attack the Block , and never lets either get too far ahead of itself. While it can be thrilling and fused with electric intensity, it can also be very tender and moving. We know the focus is on these adorable, wide-eyed kids, but Abrams invests enough time into the adult characters like Kyle Chandler's Deputy Jackson Lamb and Louis Dainard, played by the obscenely underrated Ron Eldard as well. By doing this, he allows the audience to follow in the wonder of the children's vague cluelessness of the hell that is going on around them, and the adults trying to unravel the mystery. He also lets the script speak for itself, directing the increasing action brilliantly and allowing the actors to truly become the characters they are playing. I just hope he quickly realizes his stylish use of lens flare is beginning to border a little too close to overbearing.Acting wise, the film fires on all cylinders. Chandler and Eldard are excellent in their fatherly roles, as is Noah Emmerich's absolutely despicable Nelec. But the show is completely stolen far and away by the children. This is really their movie, and they shine in each of their scenes. Casting relative unknowns in the majority of these roles, not least Courtney in the lead, helps give an enhanced sense of authenticity and fascination. The looks of fear, confusion, sadness and fun are real in the most flattering way possible. There is not one instance where any of these kids look like they are acting against a green-screen, or acting on a set. They act like seasoned veterans, and will surprise you consistently from the opening frame right until the end of the credits. Special mention also goes to Elle Fanning, who is rapidly proving to be a formidable talent who might be even stronger than her famous sister Dakota.While I will not give away too many specific details, I can say the special effects should already be considered an early front runner for the best of the year. The train crash sequence involves some of the most incredibly and intensely depicted images of destruction I have ever seen. You will be on the edge of your seat unable to look away from just how amazingly realistic it all looks. With Super 8, the visual effects are taken to the extreme, and look absolutely astounding every time they are employed. Without ruining anything else, I can safely say you will be both terrified and awestruck by just how much effort was put into making these effects look so realistic.If I hold anything against the film, it is the finale. The film is brilliantly paced and the tone is never taken for granted, but it just comes off a bit odd when compared to the rest of the film. It is not as disappointing as some may have you believe, but it was a bit too soft and cuddly for my liking – a little bit too close to what Spielberg would have done. We know the film is a nostalgic homage to those films that so many of us remember watching on weekends as kids, but the ending just does not jive as well as it could have. It feels like Abrams just did not want to commit to anything darker, and just went with the safest route he could think of. If you are still reading this review and can see Super 8 now, than you have made a big mistake. With only his third film, Abrams has made a truly spectacular must-see film that demands to be seen as quickly as possible. Allowing some of the surprises to be spoiled is simply not an option. This is the best film of the summer thus far, and will be remembered well into the end of the year. 9/10. An extended review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com .
The concept of "Super 8" is combining the elements of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. The trailer made you think it's like E.T. plus Cloverfield. Well, it's true. There is nothing new about "Super 8" but it brought us back to the good old classic times, it's funny, it's exciting, and it's amazing."Super 8" is another intriguing monster movie by J.J. Abrams. Yes, you really wanna know what it looks like but I'm not gonna tell you. The sad thing is it's not as intriguing as Cloverfield. But It's easy to ignore that problem because <more>
there is something better than being another Cloverfield. It feels like you are watching a good old classic movie. Great characters, Good old fashion score, and kids intrigued by the situation.The story is really about the characters' zombie movie making and the family tragedy while there's a monster attacking their town. The monster is like the background or the subplot of this film. But the movie still got suspense. The movie is indeed beautiful and plenty of heart. The movie is just nostalgic stuff. It's not trying to be new. It just wants to show how J.J. Abrams is inspired by Steven Spielberg's movies.There are some amazing scenes in this film. Example, the train collision was breathtaking. The movie sure has a lot of humor. It's like a relic to the old family movies. The CGI is good enough. The performances were good. The kids gave a lot of personality to their roles."Super 8" is a J.J. Abrams film with Spielberg's trademarks all over it. It's not a blockbuster that has a lot of action and less talking. This movie is made in old fashion style. Yep, this movie is nostalgic if you saw Spielberg's old movies and it's good to see another one like it.Note: There is something interesting in the credits. You might wanna check it out.
When you see a bike fly, walk out of the theater and make up your own ending (by lcofeer5)
The film is about a town mystery looked through the eyes of children. From the early part of the movie, you feel like something powerful and dangerous is lurking around and is going to jump out on you at any moment. Ever-multiplying questions tease your brain and a suspense is building up at the back of your mind right up to the end of the story. The acting was very convincing and drawing although the movie suffers from its mediocre ending. A few times I felt that the logic and the flow of the plot were a bit unrealistic and artificial. I wish that the story was focused more on the mystery <more>
and the children's reactions without all the insignificant distractions and one-dimensional minor characters. After being disappointed by a series of recent movies, this one was refreshing and heart-fluttering. It flings us back to the adventure-seeking and truth-chasing time of our childhood. If you are into tantalizing sci-fi thrillers like this movie, I recommend 'Somewhere carnal over 40 winks' as your summer read.
Spielberg's and Abrams' outstanding cooperation (by hollo-peter)
I remember being only one of the handful of people in Budapest who wanted to see this film in original version i.e. English audio, no subtitles on one hot Friday evening in the summer of 2011. It is a shame everything gets dubbed in cinemas in Hungary these days. Nevertheless, it is lucky for us that there is always a place somewhere in the capital where the theatre shows American films in the form they were intended to be presented to the audience.The movie takes place in 1979, if I am not mistaken. As one could expect from Mr Spielberg the era is presented meticulously. Movie posters here <more>
and there, kid listening to his Walkman, old cars driven on the streets and of course the children trying to shoot their dream movie with the use of a Super 8 camera.I do not remember when was the last time I saw children acting superbly. Although the main character's father, the deputy in the town, has a vital role, as well, he is not in the focus and we are more interested in seeing the kids' struggle to finish the film even after the derailment of a train and the subsequent appearance of the US Air Force.I am not lying to you: I was afraid Spielberg would not be enough to make it a successful movie and J.J Abrams would only mess up the story. If you think about it: Cloverfeld meets the Extra Terrestrial? Come on!Yet, it works! It is a wonderful piece of work which, yes, most of the time reminds us of the small alien who wanted to go home but it's been almost 30 years since then so should it really be a concern that someone tries to borrow elements from a successful movie?I was stuck to my seat the whole time and was eagerly waiting for the end of a wonderful journey. If you did not like the trailer there is no point in ruining your evening. However, if you did like it and E.T. was something that makes you remember your childhood vividly, give it a try, you will not regret it!I give it a solid 8 out of 10. Well done, guys! Hope to see the result of your further cooperation sometime in the future.