on 20 May 2016
The picture and audio on the blu ray are terrific and the movie itself is ok but it's really nothing we haven't seen before in Spielberg movies. (Who is a producer on the film) The ending is a direct pinch from E.T. and much of the rest of the movie (with the army moving in etc, hinting at something going on by the establishment ) is reminiscent of Close Encounters as are many other moments in the film. It's worth a watch though.
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 barely managed to finish watching it and at the end I was simply relieved that this ordeal was over. Avoid!
on 4 November 2011
Summer 2011 was not a bad season for blockbuster films. Massive titles came out, but for me it was the little film that could, that was one of the best. `Super 8' has no franchise to sit on, no vast archive of history and characters to draw on. Instead director J J Abrams took his childhood love of Steven Spielberg and tried to create a film in the style of the master at his peak - did he succeed? Almost.
`Super 8' is a great summer family film that deals in character, as much as in special effects. A group of young boys (and one girl) get mixed up in an adventure that reminds you of `Goonies' or `ET'. The banter between the actors is fantastic and feels like real 14 years olds would. They grow from being naïve at the start, to a little wiser towards the end. Relationships evolve and people learn. These concepts may seem like the basics a film needs, but in a world of `Battleships' and `Transformers' I am more used to paper thin characters standing around whilst CGI stuff hits other CGI stuff.
This is a film with real heart and great performances at its centre. The action is thrilling, because you are made to care about the characters. The film is a 12A and like many films in that bracket it is a little unsuitable for younger children as moments are scary. `Super 8' works wonderfully until the very end when Abrams buys into the modern phenomenon of massive CGI endings. Compared to the intelligence and subtlety that leads up to the final 20 minutes, you feel a little let down. However, even the misjudged finale cannot stop this from being one of the two films I would heartedly recommend to everyone from summer 2011 (the other being Apes).
on 2 May 2016
I hired this film as I had read it was an ideal watch for a 12 year old. It has some scary bits, suspense and fantasy rolled into one. JJ Abrams and Spielberg combine to produce a film I quite liked. This wasn't the case for my 12 year old daughter or my wife. Neither of them liked it, and they didn't connect with the plot or characters particularly. Hence my headline...
A Five Star movie. Absolutely - however I will be the first to acknowledge that this has it's own unique niche audience, and won't be for everyone. This is a love letter to the movies of the late 70's and 80's, the movie of Zemeckis, Dante and yes, most of all Spielberg. For in this feature J.J. Abrams has created a love letter to Spielberg's era of moviemaking, a movie that both celebrates and emulates the styles and tools, the moviemaking grammar, and particularly the tone of movies from that era.
It's all that, but still wrapped in a story, one that has a set of familiar elements, but wrapped up in a new enough arrangement. A bunch of kids in 1979 bond while making home movies with their Super 8 camera. They are filming one night when they witness a terrible train crash.. but when the dust settles, there is something from the cargo of the train that has been released, and it is about to have a major impact on the town. Scratch beneath that relatively simple skin though, and you'll find elements of the Goonies (bunch of kids coming of age through shared adventure), Close Encounters (paranoia, alien contact affecting ordinary small town folk), Gremlins (the black humour), and E.T. (adolescents coming of age in damaged families). And if this is an homage to Spielberg, then it's earlier Spielberg - the guns, deaths and occasional mild swear words aren't airbrushed out. It is very much a story first and foremost about real kids, living real lifes, and much less about the fantastic events happening around them. Yes there is spectacle towards the end, but only as a pay off to the emotional journey of the characters.. if it's just the action or effects you want, you will likely be disappointed. In fact, if there is any off note in the movie, it is the appearance of cgi - a very modern tool to tell an old fashioned story, and taking you out of the nostalgia trip somewhat. But it's not enough to derail the journey.
It's not just the director; the look, the feel of the movie, down through sets, period detail and even the musical score, also celebrate that early 80's feel. And let's not forget those lead roles - kids who actually come across as real, likeable, believable - the scenes where they have to emote, particularly Elle Fanning, are amazingly genuine, and the relationship between the leads is handled in a delicate way which uses visuals and acting more than it does clunky exposition or awkward dialogue.
So yes, it is my own personal 5 stars.. Maybe it's too nostalgic to appeal to today's kids, maybe its too much about kids to appeal to today's adults. But for me, I am just at that age that when I was young and impressionable it was Spielberg and Dante and the rest that stirred my own passion for movies, that made that first mark, that created those moments that would be my first love of cinema.. and it is precisely that feeling that has been captured and celebrated here. This is what happens when movies about kids are made by mature filmmakers. Watching it, I felt like that young wide eyed kid in the cinema again, and it was a glorious feeling.
on 13 December 2011
Just when i thought 2011 hadn't delivered a single decent sci-fi film, half way through December i watched Super 8 and was totally blown away! What a relief!
This is one of those films that kids of today will be talking about 10 or 15 years from today, much like me and my friends remenice of films like the goonies, back to the future, ghostbusters etc. Films that truely capture the imagination!
There are just so many good aspects to this film, most notably the child actors who are superb and totally believable! Granted this kind of disfunctional group of friends has been seen before in previous outings by Speilberg... But not for a very long time!! It's so refreshing, and great to see that Speilberg can still pull out another magical, fun film for the family... And in a different class to any other film maker! - Although this film really isn't for very young kids, the 12 rating should be heeded!
The effects are also amazing, the train crash was awesome!!
It is a real bonus too that the film is set in the past, it really gives the film a nostalgic feel!
There are a few gaps in the plot though which is a shame but in no way detrimental to the enjoyment of the film, as a kid you wouldn't pay much attention to these anyway!!... Also plenty of 80's classics have holes too but it doesn't really matter.
I must say I'm shocked at some of the negative reviews this film has, but i guess you can't please everyone. This really is a character driven masterpiece which draws you in to the character's individual issues and circumstances, not focussing fundamentally on action or special effects... Which in my opinion is dumbing down modern cinema and maybe why so many people couldn't get to grips with it - coming at it soley as an action sci-fi film (which it isn't).
I am so happy that this film was made, so far Abrams is totally smashing it for me! he hasn't put a foot wrong so far!! Can't wait to see what he comes out with next, hopefully another Speilberg collaboration!
on 19 December 2011
Writer-director J.J. Abrams teams up with Steven Spielberg for an entertaining homage to the man himself that is both fresh and familiar.
Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. all provide inspiration. A recently bereaved teenager (whose father is the local police deputy) and his friends investigate other-wordly events following a train crash that occurs in their town while they shoot an amateur movie.
As well as these story elements, the production technique also owes a lot to Spielberg's shooting style. The characteristic close-up zooms and atmospheric horizontal lens flares are complemented by a musical score from Michael Giacchino that deliberately apes the symphonic leitmotifs of John Williams.
A young cast of unknowns is uniformly excellent, led by mature performances from Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning. Abrams' screenplay doesn't miss a beat: the mystery and adventure build at a natural pace, interspersed by some well-played character moments.
This Blu-ray is a worthy release. The film is set in 1979 and the image evokes the period yet still looks up-to-date; the soundtrack is Dolby TrueHD 7.1. The comprehensive bonus features include several featurettes, deleted scenes, a commentary and an in-depth examination of the train crash sequence.
If you grew up on vintage Spielberg, Super 8 should be an essential purchase: an enthralling story that's excitingly filmed and also a fitting tribute to his initial mainstream success.
on 12 January 2012
A group of kids making their own movie get caught up in a huge train crash while filming just outside of a town called Lillian, but something has escaped from the wreckage and is pretty angry. Turns out that the train was carrying top secret cargo for the US Air Force. The Air Force promptly turn up and are not very willing to let the local sherrif know what was on board. Strange disappearances occur in the town, dogs going missing and engines out of cars, not to mention a few locals. Meanwhile the kids carry on making their film aided by the backdrop of the train wreck and the Air Force all over town for extra effect. realising something is not right the sherrif decides to snoop around only to find that the Air Force are evacuating the town because of a spreading fire (yeah,right). The kids find out that they filmed the train crashing and also what had escaped. So begins a race to find out what exactly is going on and why, all the while trying to keep a step ahead of the Air Force and stay alive.
This film reminded me so much of the old 70's and 80's flicks, movies like ET, Close Encounters and the Goonies to name a few. I think that's why i liked it so much, a bit of a nostalgia trip. I suppose as the film is set in the early 80's probably helps.
No real big name actors to mention but they all play their characters well. The special effects are very good and the train crash scene deserves a special mention. The creature sort of reminded me of the one from cloverfield and some guy from one of the more recent star wars films although i can't remember which one.
For those who like constant big action scenes you may feel a bit let down until later in the film. It sort of builds up the story and wants you to keep guessing like the characters in the film, you don't know much more than they do which i think keeps you hooked.
Overall the film has a great build up towards the final showdown which may feel a little rushed in my opinion but doesn't take away from a great story, fine performances and excellent effects which altogether gives you a modern day nostalgia trip (if that makes sense).
A strong 4 stars.
on 23 January 2012
I first saw this movie at the cinema and thought is so enjoyable I went to see it again. My first thought after seeing it the first time was, I must get this on blue ray. This movie is pure 70's 80's classic sci fi entertainment with "Close Encounters, ET and other elements thrown in. There's a lot of Spielberg's influence in this movie which for me is great and very nostalgic. JJ Abrams does a superb job with Direction, the special effects great and not over done, the soundtrack brilliant and the acting, especially from the kids superb. Elle Fannig's performance was exceptional and on a couple occasions moved me to tears.It brought back a lot of my childhood memories of when my friend and I use to make movies with our Super 8 cameras and projectors...I still have both of mine!
The Blue ray copy is superb with great clarity and detail. The soundtrack is well engineered with great base lines thundering around the room especially from the train crash sequence. Overall for me the best film of 2011 and one I can never get tired of
on 24 September 2014
A great movie which is a rollercoaster of an adventure which combines other movies like ET, The Goonies, Close Encounters etc. If you like Spielberg and JJ movies you will enjoy this. It has all of the hallmarks of a classic despite getting very average reviews.