Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Super 8(2011)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: J.J. Abrams

Joel Courtney/Joe
Kyle Chandler/Jackson
Ron Eldard/Louis
Elle Fanning/Alice
10 10
In 1979, a group of young kids in a small Ohio town shoot a student film (on Super 8 of course) in the name of entering it in a local film festival. Their filming session is cut short though, when a mammoth train wreck kabooms near them which results in odd things going down the following day. How odd? When the freaking military shows up, it’s gotta be REAL f*cking odd.
To say SUPER 8 has been hyped up the kazoo would be an understatement. For a while there I couldn’t sneeze without something SUPER 8 related kneeing me in the nads. But as I try to do with most films at this point, apart from the first trailer, I ducked clocking all of the marketing shite that was thrown my way, wanting to stay in the dark as much as possible. Knowing or having seen too much of a movie before I tap it on the big screen is just not my dime-bag. So it was with moderate expectations and a smashing “flu induced” headache that I parked my ass in that theater seat to take in this puppy and… yes… I was simply blown away.

J.J. Abrams has arrived ladies and gents! Granted, the man’s talent has been proven over and over again already via his past projects, but with this one he’s on his way to becoming the next Spielberg (who produced the flick by the way) i.e. a master storyteller, comfortable with big special effects but that also manages to display heart and a knack in evoking child like “wonder” out of its audience. In this day and age of soulless and wam-bam-thank-you-mam-enjoy-the-STD filmmaking, we f*cking need him, well I do anyways. Now we all know that it was no fluke that SUPER 8 had an old fashioned and E.T.-ish vibe to it, that’s what they were shooting for. And it worked on me and then some! SIDE NOTE: Am actually curious to see if younger audiences will enjoy the movie as much as the older folks who grew up on the type of films this one is echoing. We’ll see. END OF NOTE. The better news is, that although the movie did come off as a love letter to Spielberg’s “hey-days” and a celebration of 80's nostalgia, it also came through as a well rounded flick on its own…period!

Yup, SUPER 8 did it all with class, depth and superior skills. It introduced me to a lead kid (wonderfully interpreted by newcomer Joel Courtney) with a weight on his heart and gave him a love story that affected me (the chemistry between Courtney and the oh so talented Elle Fanning was astounding; all about that “her doing the zombie” scene…ahhhh). The film then doubled down with a groovy group of friends to follow around (the hilarious Riley Griffiths and Ryan Lee as the pyromaniac kid were my favorites) while offering up memorable side characters to boot (David Gallagher had me in stitches as the stoner dude). It should be spat that the casting here was BANG ON to say the least. The adults were perfect in their roles (Kyle Chandler was ideal while Ron Eldard was simply an inspired choice. Always nice to see the dude tackle dramatic roles) and the kids felt mucho genuine on their end. It surely helped the latter point, that for many of the child actors; this was their first acting gig. That upped their credibility factor for reasons that only my unconscious knows for sure. In case I didn't make myself clear...the performances here were top notch across the board! It's obvious to me via this film and Abrams past efforts that he's got the Midas touch when it comes to directing actors, moreso than the norm. Good on ya son!

Now that I think of it, this was one busy ass movie! There was so much going on at the same time! And the fact that Abrams managed to make all of it gel as a whole was quite the feat. When it wasn’t exploring a father/son or father/daughter dynamic in a heartfelt way (I would have “teared” up if I didn’t have some dip-shit douche texting next to me for the bulk of the screening ), it was offering a potent mystery, suspense laced sequences, a winning sense of humor and enough twist and turns to keep ya on your toes. On a technical level; SUPER 8 slammed it out of the whore-park too (I don’t know what that means, but it sounded right just now, go with it). Not only was J.J.s eye behind the lens on fire (stirring/sweeping shots, lots of flares and an accurate instinct in knowing when to show and when to imply) but the scope of the thing had my jaw drop many o times to violently hit my marbles. The money was onscreen that's for damn sure and the attention to details in terms of the time period it was set in was unbelievable. You would think that it was shot in the 80’s and that is in itself is a huge compliment.

Moreover; Michael Giacchino aced his John Williams-esque score which managed to augment every emotional aspect of the picture. And yes I will own it. Wish I could listen to it now while I type this drivel. Genius! Add to all that magic an effortless pace, a charming geek vibe to the kids (Hey they make a Zombie flick and the lead loves models...coolio!) an exceptional use of CGI (in the sense that it almost didn’t look like CGI) and varied inspired production designs that I won’t get into (I aint spoiling shite) and you get a modern masterpiece. Any qualms? Well, I did feel that the “otherworldly” subplot was a tad hazy in places, I craved for more facts as to the "how". I also found myself wishing that the flick would jack up its horror edge; but hey, that’s just me being a greedy bastardo. All in all SUPER 8 wound up being the most satisfying film going experience I’ve had this year thus far. It moved me, had my eyes widen like they did when I was a kid, had me by the collar the whole way and made me laugh. If half the women I date these days could wing what this movie pulled off, I’d be a happier hombre. My generation had E.T to fall in love with and this new gen now has SUPER 8. See it! And if ya bring your kiddies to it, just tell them that the weed joints in the film are cigarettes :)

Some blood... gore was not this one’s game.
T & A
It’s Amblin. Take a wild whoop-di-doo guess!
It’s Stand by Me meets The X-Files with a dash of E.T.! Yup SUPER 8 was a thick piece of pie with all of the yummy toppings on hand! Am talking an awesomely acted coming of age story, an "ahhh inducing" love story, a tantalizing mystery, a credible period piece (Cold War baby), a comedy, a sci-fi effort and a horror film; all driven by endearing characters and gripping relationships. It's been a while since a movie fulfilled me this much on so many levels at the same time, so thanks to all involved for this "full" experience! Sure the "otherworldly" happenings could have been fleshed out further, and being that I'm a gore hound at heart, I craved more horror in the horror; but those beefs are minor and fairly inconsequential. SUPER 8 was the real deal! It put filmmaking back in modern Blockbuster filmmaking! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. I know for a fact that I will go see it again pretty damn soon. Can't wait!
Stay tuned during the end credits, we get a surprise.

The film was first reported as a sequel/prequel to J.J. Abrams Cloverfield (2008). That was just a rumor.

Joel Courtney was born on January 31, 1996 and this is his first acting role.

Elle Fanning is the younger sister of actress Dakota Fanning. And she's just as talented.