Super 8

Super 8 is a 2011 Paramount Pictures sci-fi thriller film about a group of kids who are filming their own Super 8mm movie when a train derails, releasing a dangerous presence into their town.  Super 8 was released in 2D and IMAX.

The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard, Glynn Turman, and Bruce Greenwood.

The music is written and composed by Academy Award Winning Composer Michael Giacchino.

The film is produced by Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Bad Robot Productions.  It is distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Super 8 is written and directed by J.J. Abrams.

Super 8 is one of the best movies to come out this year.  Everything from the acting, to the story, to the visual effects, to the music was top notch.  And for a budget of only $50M including marketing……that’s is a lot to be said!!!  This movie was Abrams homage to films like Warner Bros.The Goonies and TriStar‘s The Monster Squad, and with that in mind, I feel Abrams did an excellent job.

The cast of child actors were suck a joy to watch on screen.  The film treated the middle school kids with respect and it showed.  99% of the time in films nowadays, kids get treated like watered down version of a parents vision of them.  I’m sorry, but when I was in middle school, I cursed and had fun.  Comparison for you, the kids in Fox 2000‘s Diary of a Wimpy Kid are about the same age as the kids in Super 8, and which group feels like they are real???  I’m just saying, it was nice to see middle school kids actually act like middle school kids.  The last movie to treat kids with any amount of respect was Columbia and ImageMoversMonster House, and that wasn’t even live action.  All the kids did wonderful in their roles, but I would like to recognize Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Ryan Lee and made me enjoy the movie all the more.  The adults in the movie also brought their “A” game to the table and performed superbly.

The story was an interesting one.  We’ve seen the story before, but it’s been so long since we have that it feels like a fresh idea again.  The whole time I was watching the film I could detect the scent of Universal‘s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.  From beginning to end, the story plays out really well, allowing the audience to discover things along with the characters in the movie.

The visual effects of the film were something that other films should strive to be like.  Again, $50M for a budget is not a lot, and what they were able to do with it is astounding.  Considering that 20th Century Fox and Marvel‘s X-Men: The Last Stand cost $210M and DC‘s Green Lantern cost $200M, it really shows you what a director can do with a budget.  I’d say about 98% of the effects in the movie were done pratically, meaning no CGI.  The only shots in the movie I can recall with CGI were the train exploding, the final scene in the film, and of course the alien itself, whose movements were all captured through motion capture and was played by Bruce Greenwood.  Any time you can use practical effects in a film, you should, because 1) it cost less than CGI, and 2) it looks better on screen.  No matter how great CGI looks nowadays, it still doesn’t look as good as actually blowing a car up.  You don’t believe me?  Just watch Warner Bros.’ Inception, because director Christopher Nolan RARELY EVER USES CGI IN HIS MOVIES!!!

The music in Super 8 was okay.  A few really good tracks, but some forgettable ones too.  The few tracks that stood out for me though really stood out.  Michael Giacchino is one of my favorite composers and even when the score he does is mediocre, it’s still better than most of the music in movies today.  Special mention to the track at the end of the movie.  It was simply beautiful.

Here’s a sample of the music from the movie.  This track is titled “Letting Go”.

The film also had some negative aspects too.  J.J. Abrams comes from a land of television, so he is used to doing things quickly and efficiently.  This is a blessing and a curse.  I do feel this movie would have benefited from maybe 10 to 15 more minutes of character development, specifically for the kids.  I would have loved to have seen a scene where the kids were just having fun together before the crisis hit the city.  Just a personal feeling.  The movie just kind of jumps right into it and doesn’t take a moment to slow down.  Also, Abrams seems to have a love for blue lense flare.  It was apparent throughout the whole movie.  It did work every now and then, but certain scenes, especially the train crash scene, the flaring was so apparent that it took you out of the film.  This is the second movie that Abrams has done now with an extreme amount of flaring, but it didn’t bug me too much in Star Trek.  However, the overabundance of flaring in Super 8 seemed really out of place.  These are minor problems that aren’t very big issues, but they are issues nonetheless.

Overall, Super 8 is one of the best films to come out this year and until it hits Awards Season in October, it will remain one of the best of the year.  We’ll just have to wait and see if it can keep up the pace with the dramas of Awards Season.

an 8 out of 10

(release date: 10 June 2011)

~ by Matt Whitfield on July 17, 2011.

2 Responses to “Super 8”

  1. This movie sucked donkey dick. 5/10 from me, I’d rather watch lame ass transformers.

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