Super 8

*First of all, it feels good to be back updating this blog. Secondly, I’m done with school (with a Master’s Degree in Humanities). Thirdly, and on a less enthusiastic note, I’m unemployed. Whew, now that that’s off my chest, time to head on for the review. And guess what? It’s a film still showing in theaters, so this review’s pretty up to date. ;P

I’ll cut to the chase right away: this film was, honestly, pretty disappointing. One would probably expect a classic from director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg’s collaboration. In the end, however, we get a movie with a plot very much like a little 1982 Spielberg film titled E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s first start with…

The Good

Direction wise, J.J. Abrams proves himself to be a pretty decent director. The opening train crash is pretty intense (especially with the young filmmakers in the middle of the chaos). The scenes with the alien are quite terrifying, with Abrams applying the “less is more” approach when filming the scenes, choosing to keep the creature out of focus when it attacks.

Acting wise, the kids  live their roles. Joel Courtney does a pretty impressive debut. Elle Fanning, in the words of a peer, shows the acting chops expected from her being the younger sister of Dakota Fanning. Kyle Chandler channels his grief properly against the drunk Ron Eldard. As for the rest of the kids, one would really feel that those were the actual kids whom Abrams worked with when he was still a kid making Super 8 movies.

The Bad

The story is typical Spielberg. Oh, wait, let me rephrase: the story is REHASHED from Spielberg. It’s basically a troubled family who overcome their crisis through an even bigger crisis, namely an alien attack and the government keeping it all under wraps.

I believe that this film would have been much better had it stuck to the drama/coming of age story of Courtney and Fanning’s characters. There is enough tension between the family of Courtney and Fanning, as well as the light-hearted scenes of the kids filming their epic zombie movie, for the film to be engaging. Instead, we see the story develop into a Spielberg alien feature. What’s worse, the story becomes a REHASH of a classic Spielberg alien feature (see E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). Seedy military group? Check. Family in crisis? Check. An alien? Double check. I know that imitation is a form of flattery, but in this case, it simply doesn’t work.

To recap, this film is a disappointment. While it features  commendable performances from the cast, decent direction from Abrams, and an engaging romantic/coming of age story involving the kids, the film is bogged by its sci-fi story and its rehash of a classic Spielberg alien feature.

3.5 stars out of 5


4 thoughts on “Super 8

  1. Tom

    See, every time I’ve heard someone say “Super 8 was too Spielbergy, it’s a ripoff”, it’s mostly been a blogger/person in their 20s or early 30s who seem like they walked into the theater wanting to hate it. It’s a movie made for kids that missed the Spielberg era and for their parents that miss movies of that caliber, which it does very successful. I would technically fall under the young twenty-something crowd, but I thought, for what it was worth, it was an excellent and imaginative film. Definitely one of my favorite films of 2011 thus far.

  2. Bok Gil Post author

    First of all, the reason I watched Super 8 was FOR the collaboration of JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg. I really enjoyed watching Abrams’ earlier movies and I loved Spielberg’s films. I was just disappointed with the final product. But like I said, the film wasn’t a total disaster: I thought the love story between Joe and Alice, as well as the kids’ film and family storyline were the highlight of the film. I walked into the theater wanting to enjoy the movie, not to hate it. And I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t enjoyed it as much either.

  3. Pingback: SUPER 8 – 2011 « Blank Page Beatdown

  4. Pingback: SUPER 8 - 2011 : Blank Page Beatdown

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