Super 8

Before I begin my review, I have to say, Super 8 has one of the best, if not the best, trailers I’ve ever seen. The editing team for this film must have been from another world (no pun intended). The initial magic and nostalgia that this film seemed to be boasting was something I had never seen before, and coming from JJ Abrams, the creator of Lost, I wasn’t surprised. Everything the man touches turns to Sci-Fi gold, whether it’s Mission Impossible 3, Star Trek, or Cloverfield, he seems untouchable. Behind the camera, Abrams is an unstoppable force, but it seems like behind the screen of a computer, he’s having some trouble.
Super 8 is Mr. Abrams’ first venture into single-handedly writing a screenplay. Having dabbled in co-writing Armageddon, Joy Ride, Mission Impossible III, and others, he’s never had to take the reins and the responsibility all on his own. With that being said, he’s had some experience writing blockbusters, but I don’t think he had enough to do it on his own. That in itself is where Super 8 fails. As a concept it’s unoriginal, but still well-thought out. The pacing is really nothing to complain about, and the characters are developed well enough to the point where we sympathize and understand their situation. From afar, Super 8 seems like the perfect film, but when it came time to actually watch it, I was borderline shocked at the cringe-worthy dialogue, the constant convenience and the planting of plot elements. For example, during the beginning of the film, the children are shown filming their movie at a nearby train station. Anyone who’s seen the trailer knows that this is when the train crashes and blows everything up. The train crashes, and literally everything within a 100 foot radius is blown to Hell, except for one thing; the car that the kids drove to the station is. The crash itself was the first scene in which I knew that there was a problem. It lasts for a whopping 45 seconds, too long for anything that noisy, and it’s extremely dramatic. Things are exploding, cars start flying in the air, and it’s really just a way for the filmmakers to say, “Hey! Look at this big budget we’ve got!!” When it finally does end, none of the children have more than a scratch on them. The air force arrives quickly afterwards, and the kids make their getaway, unbeknownst to the soldiers. This extreme suspension of disbelief continues throughout the film, and doesn’t let up until the end credits. It may seem like I’m nitpicking, but convenience in film drives me crazier than almost anything else. The kids should’ve died within the first 25 minutes of the picture.



Speaking of the children, I almost wish they had died in the crash. I always recall that the first rule of filmmaking is to make your leads at least bearable to listen to. The seemingly endless banter between the kids left me pulling out my hair not only because their voices sounded like hyenas, but because their dialogue was just completely unrealistic. It was almost as if Abrams had never seen kids talk before. The only two that I could handle were Joel Courtney, and the always lovely Elle Fanning, the much more appealing and talented sister of Dakota Fanning. Besides that, all the performances are what they had to be, except for Kyle Chandler, who gives an excellent performance as Jackson Lamb, the local deputy.



As a onetime watch, Super 8 will entertain most, puzzle some, and anger few. Do I regret seeing it? No. Could it have been much better? Of course, and from the surprisingly positive reviews that the film is getting, Abrams won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Spielberg has found is protégé, let’s just hope he stays consistent. Oh and one more thing, never show the monster’s face. Cloverfield had it right. Mystery is everything.

Grade: C+





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