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JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg join forces in this extraordinary tale of youth, mystery, and adventure. Super 8 tells the story of six friends who witness a train wreck while making a Super 8 movie, only to learn that something unimaginable escaped during the crash. They soon discover that the only thing more mysterious than what it is, is what it wants. Experience the film that critics rave is, “filled with unstoppable imagination and visual effects to spare. It will put a spell on you.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Few filmmakers have ever had a run at the tables like Steven Spielberg, whose output from 1971's Sugarland Express to, say, 1982's E.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 attempting to make a zombie flick, only to have their plans cut short by a close encounter with a train derailment. As the military pours over the wreckage and neighbors start disappearing, the gang realizes that their footage contains a cameo appearance by an extremely grumpy guest star. For a film whose promotional campaign hinged so strongly on creating an air of mystery, Super 8 is a fairly straightforward melding of E.T. and Jurassic Park, albeit one featuring an oddly schizophrenic monster (he eats people… until he doesn't). Abrams makes his young cast shine (particularly when developing a hint of romance between leads Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning), while also providing a nice character arc for Kyle Chandler, as a widowed deputy who can see his relationship with his son slipping away. Aside from a few primo early jolts, however, the creature-feature aspects feel increasingly shoehorned in alongside the more assured coming-of-age elements. Abrams's film has more than enough bright spots to warrant a viewing, but its insistence on worshipfully following the master's playbook is a bit of a bummer. Imitation isn't always flattering. --Andrew Wright
- Includes over two hours of behind-the-scenes special features:
- Deconstructing the Train Crash: Uncover the secrets behind filming the astonishing scene
- 8 Exclusive Featurettes: Explore the origins of the story, casting, creating the alien and more!
- 14 Deleted Scenes
- Director JJ Abrams & Filmmakers’ Commentary
- And MUCH more!
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Top customer reviews
You may find that it resonates with you more if you remember Super 8 film and cameras, and the experience of watching home movies when they were truly movies, but it is certainly not a requirement. Super 8 is a darker E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and a loving homage to Spielberg films of the 80's.
I think the ending was shorted out a bit. For all that build up, I think there could have been a bit more on the Visitor that would have made it worth the wait. Still, after seeing this in the theater, I did enjoy adding it to my collection of movies I know I will watch and enjoy again now and then.
The story seems to be pretty much par for the course for J.J. Abrams: Starts very strong, great character development, lots of mysteries to solve... and then about halfway through it seems like the story doesn't really have a clear ending and they just threw together the ending at the last minute. This seems to be the case with almost everything from Abrams... Alias... Lost... etc.
Even with the somewhat lacking ending the film is still very enjoyable. There's a lot of nostalgia tossed in and the kids that make of the cast really work great together.
So I would give this five stars based on the technical merits of the cinematography, the scoring, and the cast... but only two or three stars for the story... so in the end I give it four stars mainly because I enjoy the visuals over the actual story.
The Blu-ray edition looks fantastic and there are some scenes that will absolutely shake your whole house if you have a decent speaker setup. There is also a great making of featurette that I enjoyed.
Recommendations: Battle Los Angeles,Mimic: The Director's Cut,Monsters,Alien Raiders, and State of Emergency.
This movie feels like it wants to be a big blockbuster, but the underlying story is just a bit too familiar for it to really grab hold of the imagination. Still, it was an enjoyable bit of entertainment for my wife and I for a couple of hours - especially as it is set in 1979 when we were roughly the age of the teen protagonists in the film.
Overall, I give it a thumbs up. You can relax on your couch with a snack and enjoy this movie.