Review – Super 8

In 2011 it’s very hard to keep a secret in the movie making business, often the day a studio announces it’s making a movie, the script has already been leaked onto the internet along with a detailed review decrying the film to be a major success or failure a long time before the director has yelled ‘action!’ Social networking sites make things even worse with actors Tweeting spoilers, people taking photos from set visits full of spoilers, turn on any major film based website and it’s spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. For some reason people love spoilers, finding them on the internet is kind of like snooping around the house at Christmas time and accidentally finding all your presents. Studios even give away the plot of entire films in 2 minutes flat with badly edited trailers. In a ‘spoiler-riffic’ environment thank God for J.J Abrams and Stephen Spielberg who have kept the world on edge in anticipation of ‘Super 8’. Cryptic trailers, minimalist movie posters and a top secret plot have you going into this film unaware of the brilliance which is about to be bestowed upon you in the same way you had no idea what ‘Star Wars’ was or who the hell is ‘Indiana Jones?’ ‘Super 8’ is the story of a group of friends who are making a film together in the summer of 1979, while filming the kids notice strange things happening in their town and the investigate the mysterious occurrences. ‘Super 8’ is a nostalgic film made as a tribute to Stephen Spielberg that brings old school adventure back to the big screen with big heart. Some stylistic choices hurt the film but it’s a small blemish on a great film.

Instead of getting a tattoo that says ‘I Love Spielberg’, J.J Abrams directed ‘Super 8’ and it’s a fine homage to the director. Every single frame is dripping with Spielberg’s influence but Abrams finds ways to make the film his own. Abrams goes from tender emotional moments to hard hitting action that hits you in the face like a fist full of coins. Abrams is a very talented storyteller who knows how to keep an audience on edge and every moment is thrilling, it’s hard to keep the smile off your face. The only stylistic choice by Abrams that lets the film down is his overuse of ‘lens flares’ which are those bursts of light that streak across the screen like someone is shining a torch in your eyes. The lens flares don’t fit in with the setting of the film and at times they block what’s happening on screen which is really annoying.

The cast of ‘Super 8’ are all fantastic, especially the younger actors who hold the film together with heartfelt performances, they bring back the wonder of being a kid in that great period of time before the hormones kick in and your imagination is running wild. The adult actors provide good support to the young caast and it’s hard to tell who is having more fun as they take on the roles of parents and bad guys.

The soundtrack for ‘Super 8’ is a real winner with a lot of popular music from the era mixed in with an epic score that creates a real sense of wonder, you immediately feel transported back to 1979. Adding to the authentic feel of the late 70’s is deadly accurate set design and costume design which is a real credit to all the hardworking people who made everything perfect down to the finest detail.

‘Super 8’ is a wakeup call for Hollywood stuck in a trend of bloated franchise sequels and unnecessary reboots/remakes. Yes, some elements of the film are ripped from other filmmakers but J.J Abrams is a director smart enough to put his own stamp on the genre. In the same way the films of Stephen Spielberg inspired J.J Abrams to get into filmmaking I hope ‘Super 8’ will do the same for a whole new generation.


The Popcorn Junkie