Wednesday, July 6, 2011


SUPER 8 (2011)
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Joel Courtney - Joe Lamb
Kyle Chandler - Jackson Lamb
Elle Fanning - Alice Dainard

     After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

      I'm a child of the '80s, so those movies I got to see when I was young are of fond memories. Whether it be seeing The Goonies in the theaters a every Saturday for a month or being able to see Return Of The Jedi in the same theater for an even longer time frame, those movies gave my young brain an escape for an afternoon from baking in the Virginia sun. There was just a magic to those films I saw during that time that is hard to find in recent movies. The main difference now and then is that every movie now is trying to be a "A" movie. There's barely any movie trying to be a "B" movie and fully embrace that stigma, where the whole aspect of the movie cannot happen but the actors fully believe in their roles, which in turn makes the world on screen believable for the audience . Now comes Super 8 which is a homage to those movies of my youth, and that of the director, J.J. Abrams' youth as well.

     I must say that J.J. Abrams has been impressing me more and more with each movie he puts out.  With this one he brought back the feel of those movies from when I was growing up while combing genres of sci fi, horror, and adventure while putting a fresh take on it. Yet at the movie's heart, it is a monster movie and it doesn't try to hide it. It isn't afraid of trying to shock the mass audiences with what is happening. It doesn't try to hide the fact that childern are in danger. In fact the movie is at it's best when it is trying to scare the crowds watching it. The movie is just beautiful to look at as it transports you back in time, when there was less worry about the country collapsing and the Soviet states were the true worry.  The story for the film is just fun, and on top of that it wasn't stupid or dumbed down for the mass audiences.

     As for the main actors in the movie I have to say that both Joel Courtney's Joe Lamb and Elle Fanning's Alice Dainard are the emotional attachment to the audience in the movie. In the movie Courtney's Joe just lost his mother months ago and is trying to survive by hanging out with his friends making a super 8 zombie movie for a contest. This is what brings in Fanning's Alice. There's some on screen relationships that feel forced in movies and some that feel like, "Why is this happening". With this one in feels natural and unforced. Yet it is a innocent relationship. This is truly evident when Alice sneaks into Joe's room late at night. The whole time is spent just talking about their past and their parents and is the last time their is actual quiet in the movie, in the peaceful sense. The other stand out actor is Ryan Lee who pays  Cary. Everyone had a friend like him, or close to him when they were growing up. He loves explosions and fireworks and that love shows as you can tell he's having the time of his life at the end of the film when the military takes over the town he lives in and turns it into a war zone. Cary is leaving his dream at that moment and it is infectious to the entire audience. Even though I only mentioned three of the actors, everyone in the film did an amazing job.

     As this is a creature feature type movie, I'll end with saying that the alien is ugly, vicious, and brutal. Yet you can also sympathize with it. It was being held against its will, and the whole time it was just trying to get home. Yes, it killed lots of people, yet it can be said that it did what it believed was right after what the military did to it. Unlike recent alien movies, this alien, "Cooper", you can tell has emotions and has been wronged. Just the creature design is fascinating to look at and watch. I just have to say even the silent moments between kids and their parents carry weight that is missing from most movies and that weight helps move the film along. The real sad thing is, is that you see a movie like this come along that is this fun, with the perfect mix of horror and comedy while being able to convey actual emotion once every couple of years only. Yet thanks to that, it makes what is being seen special.  This is what "Summer " movies used to be, and I'm happy and proud to say I loved it.

     Basically all the Air Force soldiers on the flipped bus hit hard. Each one is different yet brutal. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. So here a picture around the time where everything is set off.

     If you talk about this, you and your parents will all die.

     Abrams named the film's setting, Lillian, Ohio, after his grandmother.

     During production, Judd Apatow was shown some completed footage, which he praised as "awesome". Subsequently, Abrams placed Apatow in the "special thanks" section of the credits.

     The creature's nickname on the set was "Cooper".

      Since the kids were making a zombie movie, there are several references to director George A. Romero in the film.


  1. When the creature flipped that bus, I almost spilt my $13 dollar popcorn. Luckily I saved it. But loved Super 8 and looking forward to JJ's new show, Person of Interest this fall, with Ben from Lost. Great review!

  2. That's the scene that sealed it as a true horror movie for me.

  3. I kinda jumped at that part when the alien/creature thingy flipped over the bus! Whoo! I loved it though. It was a great movie, I felt a connection with it and thought the kids did an awesome job.

    LOL @ "If you talk about this, you and your parents will all die." , that was funny. Great review! :)