Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Super 8 (2011)

This movie was on my radar since it was first mentioned a couple years ago. I was interested in seeing where director J.J. Abrams was going to go after his entertaining reboot of Star Trek, and the more I heard about this film the more I wanted to see it. Alas, I managed to miss it in the theaters. Will that work out for the best or did I miss a unique theatrical experience?

Joe (Joel Courtney) is dealing with the death of his mother as best he can. This mainly means helping his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) make a zombie movie using their super 8 camera. They get the cutest girl in school, Alice (Elle Fanning) to be in the movie, and start filming. While they are shooting at the local rail yard, the kids and the camera capture a spectacular train wreck, as well as something very large escaping from the derailed cargo.

Suddenly the army moves into the small town, locking it down. They are searching for something, and of course the youngsters find themselves drawn into a very dangerous threat. What secrets are hidden on their Super 8 film? 

Good Points:
  • All the young actors really nail their roles
  • Shoots for a truly retro-80’s family adventure feel
  • Balances adventure, mystery and some laughs really well

Bad Points:
  • Might be too dark for some viewers to be a “family” film
  • Takes its time in places and that will bore some folks
  • Some may find the nostalgia laid on a bit too thick

Yeah I really liked this movie. It nailed all the elements I am nostalgic for when I watch Back to the Future, The Goonies, and E.T. No, it’s not a perfect fit with those flicks, but it feels like such a throwback and was done with a definite sense of appreciation (and a bit of fanboyish glee) that it just hit all the sweet spots. It may be a bit dark and a little slow moving for some viewers, but Super 8 was just what the summer movie doctor ordered.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 5
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 5
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. Nick and I are currently trying to watch this. He recorded it for me. Between having to wait for Nicholas going to bed and Nick playing his most recent video game purchase I am not sure we will ever finish. But so far we are enjoying it.

  2. This is a film I've passed over after having heard in passing that it was ala Cloverfield. I liked Cloverfield, but, you know, I've seen it. Perhaps it deserves a look after all.

  3. Anon (Michelle) - Are you having flashbacks with all the hair, clothing and cars? The production design is pretty impressive.

    RB - Well there are elements of "Cloverfield" in it, but really only superficially. Where "Cloverfield" was definitely a take off on the giant monster movie, and as you mentioned a vast improvement over the '99 "Godzilla", I think "Super 8" is going for the adventure film that was popular in the early and mid '80s. The characters are a lot better developed, there is a bit more humor (but not over the top) and the thrills are handled real well. The big difference is how visually dark this movie is compared to something like "Back to the Future" or "Explorers".