Super 8 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2011
Amazing fun right out of the 70's. An excellent cast with top quality young and old creating one of the best movies ive seen in a long time. Like most reviews have said this is a loving homage to the Goonies, Stand By Me, ET all of the above. Just a wonderful movie with a few jumps, a few laughs and ton of good old fashion summer movie fun!
Super Reviewer
June 3, 2013
J.J. Abrams' most boring project. There's hardly even any aliens/monsters on screen to justify it as an Abrams-Spielberg film. A profound let-down for fans of these two giants.
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2011
A decent throwback to 50's-style monster flicks with the nostalgic look and feel of a classic Spielberg flick such as E.T. Aside from its very good visual effects, Super 8 shines with its good all-around cast. Everybody is good in their role, especially the kids. I love how the film uses suspense and shows very little of the monster until the end. Solid entertainment despite a clumsy third act that stumbles in the emotional resonance department.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2013
A group of kid filmmakers witness a train crash that leads to a battle with an extraterrestrial.
There is a fine line between plagiarism and homage, but I guess getting the person whom he's plagiarizing to produce his film saves J.J. Abrams from any charges and raises Super 8 to the level of homage. Super 8 is E.T. and The Goonies all rolled into one, but it's not just the character types and the plot that are reminiscent of Spielberg; the kid characters emerge from broken families, the adults fail to understand their children's intelligence, there are numerous shots of people looking, and even the score is similar to something John Williams would pen -- all trademarks of early Spielberg. While it could be said that Abrams's film never rises too far above imitation, that doesn't mean that the film isn't thoroughly entertaining. Even the emotional moments -- the love story between Alice and Joe, Charles's third act revelation, Joe's speech to the alien, and the third act bit with the necklace -- are all compelling and delicately handled; indeed, Abrams handles pathos with a more practiced hand than early Spielberg, whose emotional moments reeked of sentimentality.
While Joel Courtney is quite good, Elle Fanning gives the one exceptional performance; everyone else is adequate.
Overall, this is a fantastic, human, compelling science fiction film that will surely remind you of times when science fiction was about more than just explosions and special effects.
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2011
A group of high school geeks with an obsession with zombie movies witness a train wreck that contains a secret the military are desperate to cover up. Super 8 self-consciously harks back to the classic family sci-fi movies of the late 70s and early 80s and it comes as no surprise that Steven Spielberg's name is attached to the project. He's clearly a very hands-on producer as Super 8 reeks of his influence and has the kind of family friendly charm that he's always been so good at. The story is essentially The Goonies meet E.T., if E.T. were huge and very pissed off! The cast of youngsters are very impressive indeed and far from the usual irritating brats that populate Hollywood blockbusters, with Ellie Fanning in particular putting in very watchable performance as the reluctant heroine. The special effects are unsurprisingly first rate, the train crash itself being surely the most spectacular yet filmed but it never gets bogged down with irrelevant set pieces, instead concentrating on creating likeable characters that you want to root for. My one complaint would be that the ending was a bit of an anti-climax and I would have liked to have seen the creature more fully explored and explained, but as a whole it successfully captures the feel of classic sci-fi of the type Spielberg himself was one of the greatest exponents.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2010
This is the kind of cinematic telepathy, touching hearts and minds, that gave us Steven Spielberg's E.T., Jaws, and Close Encounters of Third Kind.
Thankfully to the kids are more than alright. They're fabulous; yearingly fresh-faced and infantile. The boys stand in tremulous awe of Elle Fanning's Alice, who has agreed to co-star in their Zombie movie. She's also a precious commodity for J.J. Abrams: the budding romance between Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice gives the film its heartbeat.
For all its flickers of feeling, Super 8 never relinquishes its movieness. Where Spielberg mingled the extraordinary with a verifiable suburbia, Abrams works at one remove, locating the extraordinary in Spielbergia. The magic comes lovingly pre-packaged and idealised.
Abrams admits that the coming-of-age and coming-of-alien storylines were separate ideas, melded together. This bi-part origin is always palpable, unaided by Abrams' drip-feed approach turning into a cascade. Sci-fi eventually floods the town - and this film - washing away mystery and much of the charm.
Convention also rears its ugly head. Apart from a sketchy rescue mission, the kids are bystanders in a plot that has crash-landed from a different movie. No matter how much CG-alien action rolls out, we miss just watching these kids grow up. In this, at least, Abrams is true to his mentor. The humans here are the most awesome special effect.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2012
nice story and character. the adventure of kids and alien. nice sci-fi movie for kids.
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2011
Give J.J. Abrams access to Industrial Light & Magic, and what does he do? He out-Spielbergs Spielberg! Beautiful homage, a love letter to Spielberg that, as executive producer, the legend admittedly paid for himself, but the result is a film that's not nearly as narcissistic as that sounds. E.T., The Goonies and Close Encounters all kind of meet in the middle in this story of a gang of kids who plan to spend their summer making a movie but get caught up in some weirdness around a strange accident - government conspiracy? extra-terrestrial activity? - but also in the realities of being young teenagers, things like standing up to bullies and falling in love and learning that your parents are fallible... and forgiveable. A beautiful movie that hits you right in the heart, ambitious and charming and both strange and familiar. Spielberg might have been throwing batting practice for Abrams, but it doesn't mean the neophyte didn't hit it out of the park. One of the best Hollywood movies of the last few years, and an instant classic. I loved it.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2011
A beautiful ode to filmmaking, and especially to Steven Spielberg, Super 8 is a childish delight and yet a bit of a letdown. Don't get me wrong, much of this is a fangirl's wet dream, but some of the more distinguishable flaws are so bittersweet that it's hard to get behind the evident care and concern that went into this film. The story is that of a group of kids who deal with aliens in the midst of shooting their zombie film on super 8 film. The kids themselves are a bit indistinguishable from one another except for the two main friends who either sound like misanthropic drunks in a film noir or epithet obsessed narcissists, which is at least partially true of most kids anyway. The premise of the alien invasion is sound, and the visuals for this film are ingenious. It was thrilling through most of the first half with a large mystery surrounding it from the very beginning. Still, the alien itself is something mangled and large. It doesn't seem to matter what the filmmaker would choose for the monster's outward appearance anyway, because we barely learn anything about it, its origins, and we don't care for that matter. Most of this film isn't about originality but more on the nuances and mimicry of former films from the childhood of Generation X. Director J.J. Abrams' only mark on the film seems to be an increased use of lens flair and using the still new but impressively talented Elle Fanning. A lovely film, something easily digestible, and fun for most ages, yet too obviously an ode to make a mark for itself.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2011
I had heard about this film for almost a year, and wasn't very convinced from what I've seen from the trailers. However, I felt a little less confident after hearing the main cast was full of children. However, my view of the film went in the other direction after watching this complete work of genius.

The film is based around children making a film for a competition who then witness some sort of attack on a train, only to learn that it was containing some unknown creature that causes destruction within the town. Some of the key strengths about this film are its visual effects and tension building. The effects on the train wreck and the creature make them seem so realistic, along with the sound effects can make the audience feel like their having the same experience as the film actors. At the same time, the method of building up tension is one if the films greatest achievements, as everyone in the cinema kept jumping at very scare moment. However, the shock scenes may not get to movie goers who are used to moments like this.

There are some flaws to this film that can make it quite disappointing. The first is that the train attack was quite exaggerated, I don't expect the destruction of a train cargo to be OTT. The second flaw that there is a lack of imagination with the creature, as it looks like a mutated spider with scales. The biggest problem with this film was its ending, it felt short and unsatisfying. There could've been better ways, but it all ends with the ship taking off and slowly fading out.

Overall, Super 8 is a fantastic sci-fi with some unnoticable flaws. However, the film was too extreme for a 12A and definately isn't for young children. This film has some laughs, emotional moments and truly intense scenes that will satisfy most science-fiction movie lovers.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2012
brilliant movie....its like the goonies and E.T. all in one.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2011
Super 8 is an exciting and touching Sci-Fi adventure film that serves as great Summer fare as well as being a throwback to classic Spielberg films.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2011
Interesting sci-fi installment. Thought it would be more epic though. A bit hyped-out.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2011

The film according to J.J. Abrams was homage to the producer of the film, Steven Spielberg, and his films of the 1970's ranging reverence from Spielberg's directorial films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind & E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial to Spielberg's produced films like The Goonies.

Unless the use of the preposition according to is meant to suggest that maybe, being Steven Spielberg the producer and having been reportedly on set many times ended up to determine the direction of the film, there is no excuse to use it. I mean, to me according to just sounds as something not checkable (or not that trustful) and there is no doubt that what we see here is a remake or, ok voilà, a tribute to Spielberg. This also makes me remember of some things I've read around, months ago, that now I know were nothing but repetitions but that, at that time, sounded like substantial observations. The thing is that not being into adventure fiction or into Spielberg's films, all I knew about Super 8 was what I quiclky saw in the trailer, so simple comments like "Super 8 is a mix of Goonies, E.T. and The War of the Worlds" made me think that the person had a considerable cinematographic baggage. "Naïve me". I watch the trailer again and just comes to mind an article I read years ago about those whose job is to make movie trailers: creating trailers for mediocre movies is an art. Super 8 is not a bad film, but the package is definitely better than the content.

It's the summer of 1979. A group of kids is shooting a zombie film when they witness a terrible train crash. What was supposed to be "only" an accident - even if one of large proportions - turned out to be the beginning of a chaos. Strange things start to happen and the Air Force transforms the crash site into a top secret mission. Charles has the idea of adding what their camera may have filmed during the crash to their own film. When the film is developed, they discover something scary.

For those who, like me, liked E.T. and The Goonies, is such a pleasure to (re)watch these kids and those memorable 80's. Even more pleasure is to follow a group of amazing losers shooting around with a Super 8 (There's no doubt that those Super 8mm cameras were much cooler than the digital ones we have today. As also the whole process of filming, taking the film to be developed, the exciting waiting days, etc). Even if Joe is the typical nice boy, I really liked to see Charles in the command. "The fat boy" not only doesn't bring the stereotypes of "chicken" (by the way, was "pussy" an expresson in/of the 80's?) and laziness as he is smart and creative. Another great point is the anguish of coming of age and falling in love.

I know it sounds stupid. Why would she ever like me? I haven't lean out yet. Doctor says it's going to happen.

Peter Bradshaw brought up an interesting point on how the growing intimacy between Joe and Alice, which develops from Joe pasting zombie makeup on Alice's face, has something of the Spielberg-fannishness in Kevin Williamson's Dawson's Creek. Who used to watch Dawson's Creek knows what he is talking about.

If the intimacy between Alice and Joe happens in a convincible way, without any over-sentimentalism, things start to go wrong when over-sentimentalism is put in scene with lot of explosions, last minute reconciliations and heroic acts. Now tell me that you don't know how this is going to end. (Being really honest, you know it from the early moment when the train crashes.)

Super Reviewer
May 26, 2011
A good film that centers around the close group of kids that are friends. It has a slight Stand by me vibe mixed with the adventure feeling of some of Spielberg's films form the 80's. It has a good young cast and doesn't try to overload you with the action scenes and stunts. An enjoyable film filled with nostalgia for films from that era.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2011
J.J. Abrams. He's got the skill. I loved the 3rd installment of the Mission: Impossible series and though I was one of the few that disliked his adaptation of "Star Trek", I couldn't help but find that J.J. Abrams directed it, superbly. Most blockbuster movies nowadays are always lacking in some aspect. With "Super 8", I pleasantly entertained and impressed with the entire package. The direction, editing, special effects, acting (especially the acting), cinematography, and screenplay -- all done great. "Super 8" unfortunately, begins to fall apart near the end. It's simply pacing issues. The movie can't hold itself up till the last moments. That's not to say that this is a bad movie. It was very entertaining. You're sure to have a good time.
Super Reviewer
February 29, 2012
This intriguing adventure is a nostalgic return to the late 70's and early 80's of Spielberg's movies. But even if it offers exhilarating visual effects and solid performances, it has a poor script that gets ruined by a lame ending that comes with a cheesy resolution for all the conflicts.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2011
J.J. Abrams' loveletter to diy filmmaking and respectful homage to late 70s/early 80s Spielberg is quite an achievement. The is set in the suburbs of the small Ohio town of Lilian and takes place during the summer of 1979.

A group of youngsters are out making a low budget zombie film, and, to add some porestige and production value to the effort, decide to film at a train depot one night. It just so happens however that while filming, a train carrying some special cargo derails in front of them, making for a spectacular crash. The "Thing" the train was carrying escapes, and it doesn't take long before the military arrive to deal with things and some odd activities start taking place.

For most of the running time, this film really cooks and some excellent moments are delivered up. Towards the end though, when the specifics begin to get really fleshed out, and the conclusion starts to come around, things do start to run out of steam a bit, and the strength of the script begins to weaken. That's not to say that the third act sucks, far from it, but the build up to it is so great that it is unfortunate that the great consistency doesn't hold up all the way through.

I'm not totally upset with how the film ends, but it does seem somewhat underwhelming and some of the initial impact is lost. The film does regain some points though during the end credits by showing the complete version of the film the kids are shown making during the film's running time....and the results are the best kind of cheesy awesomeness.

All in all, this film is a successful tribute to both low budget indie filmmaking and Golden Age Spielberg. Abrams really shows his love for these subjects, and it brought back tons of nostalgia for me as I sat there looking at my tv. Part of what really helps the film is that, not including Elle Fannin, almost all of the rest of the cast is made up of unknowns, all of whom are quite excellent, and display some great chemistry and chops...especially the kids, with Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths being the real standouts.

As for the music, there's no John Williams, but Abrams go to guy Michael Giacchino turns in a solid score that both works on its own terms, and smartly recalls some of the best of Williams' past works.

All in all, this is a wonderfully entertaining and outstandingly well made sci-fi romance adventure film. There's a great amount of humor, pathos, and bit of horror too, and all of it blends fairly well for the most part. The film is kinda overstuffed, and since Abrams is trying to do so much, maybe it would have been better to extend the running time, but nevertheless, this is some great stuff that you should definitely check out.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2012
Elle Fanning put on a captivating performance. The dialogue was pretty funny, and most of all Spielberg / Abrams kept me on my toes by interspersing a tight pace of progressing events with the sudden action 'shock' scenes. Thoroughly entertaining.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2011
Super 8 has good emotional depth and dazzling effects and alien design, however I found myself laughing at the film and not too bothered about these dull kids. It's a standard Spielberg set up with an over-used story of childhood love, nothing new from him. I also found myself hating the lead characters including the typical blonde female who hangs around with these movie geeks and the surpisingly good looking nerd. I would have prefered it to be a sequel to Cloverfield as planned. Hated all the characters but the film addict.
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