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Stewart Smith

Super 8

I, for one, began Super 8 without even knowing what on earth it was about. I mean, the billboards all had models climbing on them, and the trailers I saw were vague at best. My best guess was… Eight kids find a magical meteor thing and gain superpowers? I’m rarely one up for another one of those cliché pictures.

Fortunately, it wasn’t one of those cliché pictures. The movie is actually set in a small Ohio steel town in the 1970s and is about a group of six kids that make home movies as a hobby. (The title “Super 8” is actually the name of an old film format). They are at the local train station, preparing to shoot a nighttime scene.  As a freight train thunders past, a man suddenly drives a truck onto the rails and causes a massive crash! (In, might I add, an action packed sequence of special effects explosions and fire.)  The children run for their lives and, thankfully, they all survive, but the camera keeps running. They got something on film that shouldn’t have been there…

Following the crash, there are a number of disappearances and strange power outages, and the Air Force starts searching the town.  The characters have to deal with keeping what they know to themselves… Then there’s some kind of monster, and… I suppose it is partly cliché…

The movie is written and directed by J.J. Abrams (director of Star Trek, Mission Impossible III and the pilot for the TV series Lost). Produced by the famous Steven Spielberg, you can see that he had a huge influence in Super 8. The movie has strong echoes of Spielberg’s E.T., Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones movies. It is a dark, even scary movie that brings thrills, chills and sentimentality.

As with the “Spielberg Feel”, even though a lot of his movies are aimed at general audiences, they often terrify the younger members of the audience. Clearly, Steven Spielberg is the Alfred Hitchcock of our time.


Age Recommendation: 11 or older, as with all of these such creations.

Final Verdict: 7/10. The movie’s premise was great, but the latter portion left me unsatisfied.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Nan July 22, 2011, 8:03 am

    You write such good reviews Stew which makes it very clear whether I want to see them or not.
    In this case, I don’t think I am really drawn to the storyline – it isn’t really my cup of tea as the
    saying goes so I shall look forward to your next review of a film before I take myself off to the cinema!! Love – Nan

  • Robert Ozankan August 6, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Another strong review but one point that deserves mention is that the kids in the movie are the real stars. Their performances are as good as Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore in ET and the emotional center of the story in Super 8.

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