Super 8

I’ll try and review this without saying too much about the plot coz the less you know about Super 8 before you go in, the more amazing it will be when you do watch it…

Set in the summer of 1979 in a small town in Ohio a group of kids are making their own super 8 movie. But on one night shoot they witness something truly scary. And soon after strange things start happening in town that may or may not be connected to what they saw…

One thing that could have been a big potential problem with Super 8 was the kids (acting wise I mean). But like Joe Cornish for Attack the Block J.J. Abrams has also managed to find brilliant kids (again most of them first time actors) who are all very convincing (especially Elle Fanning but we already knew she could act anyway). They also all have great chemistry together and more importantly, they’re really funny when they need to be. And they’re one of the main reasons that the film is so gripping to watch.


The big ‘incident’ that kicks everything off is AMAZING as well: heart pumping stuff to watch with the kids right in the middle of it. It’s scenes like this that are made to be watched on the big screen. And Super 8 is filled with exciting, huge set pieces like this.

But although this is a ‘big disaster movie’, the one thing that J.J. never loses sight of is the human element – the relationships between the friends and more centrally, the relationship between the father and son who have recently lost their wife and mother respectively. It’s moments like this that ground the more fantastical parts in reality (and one of the reasons why Super 8 is being compared so much to Steven Spielberg’s films – another filmmaker who always has a central family/friendship as well as other story elements. And the comparison is also probably coz Spielberg produced this). In fact you could probably take out the whole ‘Hollywood’ element of Super 8 and it would still make for a great film.

There is one thing that I’m not so sure about though – without giving too much away there is one part where everything is suddenly ‘revealed’. On one hand some people will be disappointed that too much is shown. And on the other some would have been annoyed if nothing had been revealed or explained (and seeing that this is from the man behind Lost I am actually quite surprised he did explain everything). You’ll know what I mean when you do see it…and what starts out as brief and more interesting glimpses (coz we’re filling in the gaps ourselves) becomes fully shown towards the end and is a little…unbelievable? But this is only one small problem (and probably not even a problem – I’m just being picky coz I prefer more mystery).

Super 8 is a great mix of themes: It’s scary, it’s heartfelt, it’s funny and it’s very, very exciting to watch. And it is this mash-up of genre’s that makes it so memorable and makes it stand out from other big budget films. Super great J.J.


~ by square-eyed-geek on August 21, 2011.

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