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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on December 23, 2013
J.J. Abrams may be the king of lens flare on screen, something I don't mind at all, and this tale of children discovering an alien in their neighborhood is truly poignant at times, fun at time, action at times, etc. Spielberg would probably be proud. Abrams doesn't make a mockery of the genre and mixes E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and sometimes Jaws (for some suspense) for a superb result. Actors (even the kids) give believable and touching performances, the special effects are great, and the reconstruction of the 80s is, quite frankly, mind blowing (having lived through them). Dialogs are spot-on, and the metaphors and horrors (the beginning is brilliant under-play) finish bringing Abrams' tale to cinematic life.

Special features are interesting and lengthy: a nice commentary track, loads of featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes, etc. You won't get bored with these selected bonuses. I honestly didn't expect to get close to 2 hours of stuff, but having 2 hours of comprehensive and entertaining as well as informative behind the scenes segments really honors the film.

Personally, I just loved the movie, even though I didn't know what to expect at first. Having said that, I would advise any newcomer of this movie to try and not remember everything your friends may have told you beforehand.

Brilliant filmmaking, nice homage and never a boring minute (for my tastes, of course)... Add this to your collection, you won't be sorry.
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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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Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
French, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish.

50GB Blu-ray Disc
DVD copy
Digital copy (on disc)

Region free

Although it's listed as a science fiction thriller, Super 8 is an ideal family movie. The main characters are children and we are given enough information to identify with them. Even if we weren't like any of them ourselves, we almost certainly went to school with similar children.

The movie feels like a combination of Stand by Me and some of the best Steven Spielberg stories, such as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The story feels like it could have been written by Stephen King and contains a slice of small-town America, combined with a fantasy element.

The opening scene mentions an accident at a steel mill in which Elizabeth Lamb is killed. Her husband, Jackson (Kyle Chandler), is a deputy, and her son, Joe (Joel Courtney), is helping his friends make a movie. We spend a lot of time with these children and events are seen from their viewpoint. The group enlists Alice (Elle Fanning) to play a role in their movie and she impresses them with her superior acting ability. Joe starts to develop feelings for her and it's this relationship which drives the story.

One of the most memorable scenes comes early in the movie. While the kids are filming, a train approaches. Charles (Riley Griffiths), who is the director, wants to shoot a scene while the train is passing. A truck drives onto the tracks in front of the train and causes a massive accident. The scene is spectacular and will rock your home theater. After surviving the accident, the kids notice a carriage on its side and something is pounding on the walls from within.

That's the setup and I don't think there's any need to ruin things by giving away any more of the story. Courtney and Fanning give strong performances and their developing friendship is believable. Alice's father is a source of conflict and Joe's father has a role to play in the safety of the town. Part of the fun is watching events unfold and trying to solve the mystery. What is causing these things to happen? Why are people and animals disappearing?

Super 8 evokes a special feeling. It's partly nostalgia as we remember friendships in our childhood, and the movie feels as if it belongs in the 70s or early 80s. Technology wasn't as advanced as it is now and there is a closeness between the people in the town that is rare to see in today's world. The friendship between the children makes everything work and it feels authentic.

Although the early part of the movie relies on special effects, there is a real story here with a little depth. If you like Spielberg's classic movies, you'll probably enjoy what Abrams has done. If you were wondering whether Abrams includes lens flares like he did in Star Trek, they are present throughout the movie.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 4, 2011
Entertaining if derivative Steven Spielberg homage (ironically produced by Spielberg himself), ths is smarter
than most modern summer action movies by a long shot, with some amazing special effects, some fun shocks,
and good performances from a brace of young actors.

What it doesn't have is a lot of originality, being sort of a mash up of E.T. and Close Encounters with a few
bits of The Goonies and old monster movies thrown in.

It does remind us of how good those stories were, and that there's no reason you can't make a teenage friendly
action adventure with smarts.

Fun and fast paced, but after the smashing (literally) opening I was hoping for more than a warm hearted,
well made re-tread of films gone by.
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on September 29, 2012
no real big stars in this movie but that doesn't stop the action. Story involves friends filming a train wreck and the government doesn't want anyone to know what was unleashed when the train crashed. good movie.
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on November 2, 2012
This movie is everything I thought it would be. Without a doubt, I have been entertained more now than before I bought the movie.
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on August 11, 2012
This movie took me back in time to the late seventies early eighties when the Saturday Matinee at our local theater played.

The entire vibe of them movie is retro but with great special effects and top knotch acting.

Kyle Chandler kicks but as usual. He could be one of the most under rated actors out there. For a bit of nostalgia, get this movie and watch with you kids.
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on February 21, 2015
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