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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable sci-fi-thriller
There are so many differing reviews here, covering everything from awful to excellent, it's going to be difficult writing anything new. So, I'll not try and just say what I thought:

I quite liked the idea of a group of kids making zombie movies and the comradeship that brings and we see them getting along for a common purpose. Some of the scenes between young...
Published on 4 April 2012 by Tim Kidner

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High concept, low yield nostalgic sci-fi
Super 8 is another high-concept low-yield movie from J.J. Abrams that is okay but really ought to be better. There's promise in its Spielbergian tale of a group of late-70s schoolkids making their own zombie movie only to stumble cross a real monster after an Air Force train crashes into the middle of one of their scenes, but despite the odd good scene it along the way...
Published on 7 Dec. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable sci-fi-thriller, 4 April 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Super 8 [DVD] (DVD)
There are so many differing reviews here, covering everything from awful to excellent, it's going to be difficult writing anything new. So, I'll not try and just say what I thought:

I quite liked the idea of a group of kids making zombie movies and the comradeship that brings and we see them getting along for a common purpose. Some of the scenes between young Joel Courtney's and Elle Fanning's are touching, believable and very well acted, whilst the others offered a ragbag of youngsters that are typical of a traditional Spielberg.

The military/scifi elements might not be totally new and unique, but to my middle-aged mind were put together well enough to seem fresh. The SFX were good enough for what was needed, though not exactly state of the art.

Enough went on and mostly suspenseful enough to keep me interested and ultimately, I enjoyed it for what it was. My rented DVD won't be replaced with a copy of my own, though and I give 7/10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High concept, low yield nostalgic sci-fi, 7 Dec. 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Super 8 is another high-concept low-yield movie from J.J. Abrams that is okay but really ought to be better. There's promise in its Spielbergian tale of a group of late-70s schoolkids making their own zombie movie only to stumble cross a real monster after an Air Force train crashes into the middle of one of their scenes, but despite the odd good scene it along the way never really takes hold. The look of the film is fine and the cast are good, but the film doesn't have the heart of those it is makes so much show of imitating. Like them or loathe them, Spielberg's 80s movies were a seamless mixture of his everyday memories of an awkward suburban childhood and his youthful fantasies and fears, the former giving them a genuinely personal and lived-through feel that helped create a credible enough world for their incredible tales for the joins to barely show. With Abrams you get the feeling of someone trying to recreate someone else's childhood memories, fears and fantasies, drawn not from life or personal imagination but solely from the silver screen. It's so self-consciously referencing the films that the director grew up with it never feels genuine and never finds a voice of its own (and talking of voices, some of the incidental dialogue is horribly flat while Michael Giacchino's score pilfers from John Williams, early James Horner and from John Barry's King Kong score so much you wonder why he's credited as composer rather than orchestrator at times). If you've seen Close Encounters, The Goonies, E.T., The Fog and any of the other films it `homages,' you'll get the feeling of ticking off a list. But then this is ultimately just a big budget sibling to the film within a film the kids are making: someone trying to recreate their childhood pleasures rather than offering up dreams of his own. Even the train crash that is the film's biggest setpiece manages to be simultaneously much more spectacular than the one in The Fugitive yet much less effective. It's certainly not a terrible film, but no matter how hard it tries the magic it so desperately aspires to never materialises.

As usual, DVD buyers get a raw deal extras-wise with just an audio commentary and a couple of featurettes, while Blu-ray buyers also get deleted scenes and a whopping 97-minutes worth of featurettes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Auteurs and aliens, 23 Dec. 2011
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Super 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Kids these days. They don't know what they're missing. Back in 1979, in the days before the internet, mobile phones, and computer games [computer games that were more sophisticated than pong, that is] folks had to make their own entertainment.

You could make models, put up posters of tv stars or the space shuttle, ride around on chopper bikes. And you could make home movies with handheld cameras.

Lost creator and star trek director JJ Abrams takes us back to those days with a movie all about that kind of life. And it's the kind of movie you might have seen at the time.

Set in small town america our main character is young Joe. An emotional opening shows he and his father, one of the sheriffs deputies, struggling to connect in the wake of Joe's mother's tragic death.

One release for Joe is via his friend Charles. Overweight and somewhat bossy, Charles makes movies and is desperate to get his zombie horror story completed in time to enter a movie festival.

Enlisting Alice, a girl from a few grades above them at school, to play the female lead, the three plus their other friends are out shooting late one night when they witness a train crash. Which someone caused deliberately.

As the air force move into town, secrets and strange events abound. Can Joe and the townsfolk find what's going on before their home is torn apart?

Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and with the Amblin entertainment logo at the start, thats another way in which it harks back to the period. Along with a wealth of period detail and a fun scene of someone trying out a certain new invention. That looks very dated now.

The picture quality does also look like something that's thirty years old, but that may be intentional. It doesn't stop it from being perfectly watchable.

The train crash is the most convincing one I've ever seen in a movie - there might be minimal cgi involved - and does create a great feeling of being caught up in the middle of it. just as the characters are.

Managing a good job of blending character interaction and development with the ongoing mystery of whats happening in the town, this is an involving and entertaing watch, but it does falter slightly at the end. The size of the cast of characters does mean by this point a few become rather sidelined and don't play as much part in the finale as they could. Plus the motivations of the thing that is behind it all aren't as clear as you might hope.

Billed by many reviewers as a perfect family film it does contain some mild profanity on occasion.

But all in all it's a fun return to a style of movie making that we'd thought vanished long ago.

It's also worth watching the end credits. Where you get to see another movie entirely......

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, Hindi.

Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish.

English audio descriptive track.

The disc begins with several trailers but you can get past those via the next or the menu buttons on the dvd remote control.

The only extras are:

A commentary from the filmmakers.

A fifteen minute long feature about how people made movies with super eight cameras back in the day, and how it inspired the film. This is interesting and delightful nostalgia and well worth a watch.

There's also an eleven minute long feature about how the alien of the film was brought to life on screen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE FOR KIDS EXCEPT FOR THE F BOMB, 12 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Super 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Four somewhat geeky jr. high kids opt to make a zombie movie. Joe (Joel Courtney) is one of them. His mother has recently died and his dad (Kyle Chandler) is a deputy who is semi-understanding. Charles (Riley Griffiths) is the brains behind the film. Alice (Elle Fanning) agrees to help them with the movie. After midnight, she drives the foursome to the scene. She doesn't have a license and is worried because the deputy's son is with them. Joe promises not to tell. One boy, Cary, has a love for fire and fireworks. Alice's father (Ron Eldard) gets in trouble with the law. Her relationship with Joe is not welcomed by him. This develops into a background Romeo and Juliet scenario, something for the young teen girl appeal.

As they are rehearsing a scene at the station, a train is coming down the tracks. Charles scrambles to get a film clip of the train while shooting the scene. Then it happens: a white pick-up truck speeds by the train. There is a wreak. The kids panic and run for their lives as RR cars explode all around them. When the smoke clears they take a quick headcount. There are things which look like a white Rubik's cubes all around them.

Charles recognizes the driver of said white truck; it is his fourth period biology teacher, Dr. Woodward (Glynn Turman, a black man with a PhD. in biology teaching middle school in white suburban Lillian, Ohio). In his near dying breath the teacher instructs the kids not to say anything or else they and their families will be hunted down and killed! As GI Joe shows up at the scene, the kids grab their equipment and speed out of there...and they take one of the cubes.

The Air Force has taken charge of the clean up. The town's people are kept away and in the dark. Then weird things start to happen...Sheriff goes missing, dogs go missing, car engines go missing, microwaves go missing. There is clearly a "monster" thing on the loose, but the camera doesn't let us see it, very similar to many of the Jurassic Park/ Predator scenes. I wish I had seen this on IMAX. There are a number of scenes where things suddenly "jump out at you." This always makes it fun for a bunch of kids at the theater.

Spielberg/ Adams bring out the best in the child actors making them very convincing and realistic. The humor is pointed at kids. When Alice asks how to be a zombie, Joe tells her to act like their English teacher. The movie contains numerous anachronisms: Rubik's cube and Walkman came out in 1980 while the movie takes place in 1979. Elle Fanning is asked to play a number of different parts in this film, and she does them all well. I felt like I was watching her audition tape.

At some point in time the hippie (store clerk who tries to sell Charles pot) lets out a WTF. Here we have a film clearly aimed at kids and they drop the F-bomb in it. There was absolutely no need for it. They made the rating unwatchable for the target audience which is also financially irresponsible.

5 stars for middle school kids who outwit the military and save the day/ 3 stars for adults who sit through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 70's/80's homage in this Sci-Fi Goonies adventure, 29 Dec. 2011
By 
Jules (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Super 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Super 8 is set in the late 1970's, in a sleepy backwater American town & follows group of friends Joe (Joel Courtney - S8), Charles (Riley Griffiths -S8), Cary (Ryan Lee -S8), Martin (Gabriel Basso -The Big C) , Preston (Zach Mills -Mr Magorium's W.E) & Alice (Elle Fanning -The Door In The Floor). We follow them making a home made movie using a Super 8 film camera (hence the films title & homage to S8 Producer & legendary Director Steven Spielbergs beginnings), during which on one location at an old train stop, they accidentally film a train crash, but unknown to them it was a top secret US air force cargo train, with a precious, top secret cargo on board, that's going to put them & their whole town in danger.

Overall i liked the movie as a whole, the action sequences & the way it was filmed took me back to films i enjoyed when growing up, like The Goonies & E.T. etc.. I enjoyed the way in which S8 followed the main story, but also the many underlying stories with the characters & their relationships coming together towards the finale. I think the decision to keep the precious cargo not fully visible through a large portion of the film was a good decision as it helped keep building up the mystery & suspense. The young, relatively unknown cast were good, and the well known adult support cast like Ron Eldard (House of Sand and Fog), Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show ) & Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights ) helped them along well in support, culminating in a very believable experience.

In conclusion, Super 8 is a homage to classic 70's & 80's style kids adventure movies, touching on those teen/adult growing pains. It's well filmed, well acted, and albeit a little long winded in places, it manages to come together to create a film that kids today can get a taste of what their parents grew up watching, while the mums & dads get a nostalgia trip. Make sure to stick around as the final credits roll, to watch the guys finished zombie movie, it's just as good as the whole film ;-) Recommended.

Note: Being rated 12, if your letting very young children watch this, there are some four letter profanities sprinkled through the film, mainly "S" & the odd "F" word's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT AT ALL DISAPPOINTED, 25 Aug. 2013
This may be more to do with Abram then Spielberg,but it is very Spielberg in style. It's almost as if it's an idea he's been carrying around since the 80's but couldn't make due to lack of today's CGI. It ends up looking pretty amaizing,leaving me very impressed.
So,we have several horror loving kids making a movie with super 8 film,during this they witness a huge train crash (one of the most impressive crashes I've ever seen),a crash which looked somewhat planned. It is discovered in the wreckage,this train was carrying some odd looking greyish white cubes,something else also emerged from this crash and it's causing chaos. The question being: what is it? And more to the point,what does it want?
It becomes a fairly simple story with a lot of heart thanks to the characteristic kids. The main story is supported by an interesting side story and for me,never loses it's appeal.
Some clearly hated this movie,but perhaps they missed the style and art of it. I loved the way the creature was hinted at then slowly revealed in a way that is seldom done these days.
I hoped for something impressive...and got it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A rather boring, predictable and by moments very silly film - basically a failed attempt to milk again old Spielberg's classics, 11 April 2014
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Super 8 [DVD] (DVD)
I didn't like this film and I am glad that I rented it only instead of buying. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

In 1979 a group of young teenagers is working on an amateur horror film about a zombie infestation. One night they slip out of homes to film a scene which happens on an abandoned railway station. When doing it they witness a terrible train derailment, during which SOMETHING escapes from a kind of an armored wagon... and then the film really begins.

Even if this film was directed by J.J. Abrams (which made me suddenly very concerned about the next STAR WARS movie...), it was produced by Steven Spielberg and it is clear from the beginning that "Super 8" is just a mixture of recycled elements from "E.T.", "Close encounters of the third kind" and "Taken" TV series. It wouldn't be a problem if this mix was well made - but it was NOT!

The story is silly and terribly predictable, filled with every possible cliché in the book. US military and US government are presented as some kind of Nazis. The alien creature is a kind and gentle thing and it kills only bad people, namely those who wear uniforms... A drug using, vulgar slacker (Jeez, what a role model!) is the main ally of children against the bad US government, who not only abuses gentle alien creatures but also routinely murders US citizens. I also couldn't really feel any sympathy for little heroes from "Super 8" - unlike in "E.T.", far from being nice kids, they are a mixture of boring and annoying brats with deep issues.

As many other recent films, this one tries to be a sci-fi film for both adult and young public - just to fail on both counts, as it is too violent and scary for a kid's movie and too childish for a grown-up movie...

I hardly managed to finish watching it and at the end I was simply relieved that this ordeal was over. Avoid!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, 7 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Super 8 (Amazon Instant Video)
A fantastic family film that captures the magic of early Spielberg films and twists it with some modern JJ Abrahams sci-fi. One of our family's favourite films. The train crash scene alone is worth the five stars and I cannot understand anyone who failed to enjoy this film. They clearly don't get cinema.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Collage of E.T., Close Encounters and other such stuff, 4 Aug. 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
J.J. Abrams - Director / Writer / Producer presents us with a love story that incidentally is visited now and then by an alien. Marketed as a sort of kids "Blaire Witch" story, the film is a pale reflection of "The Goonies" (1985.)

Basically kids making a movie witness a train wreck and possibly something else. We know that they are in trouble as "poof" out of nowhere men in uniforms with flashlights appears.

There is a disclaimer in the beginning of the film but there does seem to be a lot of gratuitous potty mouth in the presentation.

Even if the plot was formula and many times formula can be fun, Elle Fanning excelled as a zombie. See her earlier works as Phoebe Lichten in "Phoebe in Wonderland" (2008).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And I just knew then that I was there, that I existed., 17 Feb. 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Super 8 is written and directed by J. J. Abrams. It stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard and Riley Griffiths. Music is scored by Michael Giacchino and cinematography by Larry Fong. The film tells the story of a group of young teenagers in Lillian, Ohio, 1979, who are filming their own Super 8 zombie movie when a train derails and crashes, releasing an unknown being into their midst. As the town is threatened and mysteries start to mount up, the youngsters must come to terms with not only that, but also growing up mentally and physically.

It's feels nigh on impossible to come across a review for Super 8 that doesn't contain the name Spielberg. With the film overtly Spiebergian in themes and production, and the bearded maestro of the film geek masses on producer duties here, his name hangs over Abrams' movie like a watchful father figure. If that bothers Abrams, or indeed if it detracts from the quality of his movie? Then that's up for debate by those not enamoured with Spielberg's movies of the late 70s and early 80s. But to my mind it's a blessing, a triumph of sorts to be mentioned in the same breath as the beard and those wonderful movies of his. Part homage, part nostalgia harking, Super 8 is still one great, sweet and affecting J.J. Abrams movie.

Abrams himself is on record as saying that Super 8 is born out of two movie ideas he had, this while also being drawn from his own recollections in childhood, and the two movie idea shows. It's very much a two part picture in structure, part Stand by Me coming of ager, part Goonie like monster hunt. Nothing wrong with that, mind. However, with that comes some form of irritation to those who venture in expecting a big ole alien attack movie. Oh for sure he exists, and he is big and mean, although he has just cause, but the creature is not the centre piece of the movie. It's the human characters that form the basis of Super 8, be it the kids adjusting to their changing emotions and hormones, or the single parent fathers coming to terms with absence of love and grief, Super 8 is brimming with human heart. Yet never is it schmaltzy.

PRODUCTION VALUE!

Aided by Fong's warm metallic hued photography and Giacchino's beautiful heart tugging score (both energised in Blu-ray), Super 8 always carries a magical mysticism to it. The warm glow of nostalgia cloaks the proceedings, never cloying, always smile inducing, offering comfort as the narrative deals out observations about the need to let go while playing out as a deft, if unsubtle, meditation on grief and growing pains. The cast do wonders for their director, Fanning and Courtney are exemplary, so much raw emotion and energy, it's unfussy and believable acting. Griffith's, too, is wonderful as the booming voiced wannabe director, a tender nod of the head to the many young amateur directors out there; of which Abrams was once one himself. While Eldard and Chandler as the two fathers are most affecting, the pangs of juggling single parenting with loss are deeply portrayed.

Of the director himself? He crafts it with care and precision, a knowing of the pulse beat of the thematics to drive it forward. His attention to period details are admirable, from the dialogue sparks involving Walkman's and Soviet paranoia, to the items located within the bedrooms and houses of our young protagonists, he is a man who knows his late 70s and early 80s onions. Although Spielberg is far from finished as a film maker of note, it does feel here that the torch is being passed down. After the excellence of Star Trek and now this most delightful of movies, Abrams is showing in his work a love of cinema that's wholly infectious. Long may it continue, hooray! 9/10
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Super 8 [DVD]
Super 8 [DVD] by J.J. Abrams (DVD - 2011)
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