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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

[7.75/10] Super 8 (2011)


Super 8 (2011)

Full review: J.J. Abrams' long-anticipated 'mysterious' project "Super 8" has finally arrived, and while it delivers everything it promises in terms of sheer entertainment, it hardly exceeds expectations, due to an unsteady pacing, lack of true originality, and a disappointing conclusion. Đžbviously a reminiscent of 80s sci-fi classics such as "E.T." and "Gremlins", "Super 8" definitely captures the essence of this cinematic period, and has this nostalgic feel about it, that we all love. It's a story about true friendship, young love, family issues and passion for cinema, with a sci-fi spin that is intended to be the main focus of the story, but somehow ends up on a second place, because of the genuine relationship and the strong interaction between the characters, and their 'real life' stories. The acting from the engaging young cast is definitely one of the film's main strengths. Joel Courtney is incredibly likable as the main protagonist, Joe, and greatly combines juvenile curiosity and enthusiasm with bravery and determination. Elle Fanning is sweet and innocent, but at the same time she acts very maturely for her age, plus she shares great chemistry with Joel. Riley Griffiths shines as Charles, and Ryan Lee is as adorable as he's hilarious, and delivers arguably the most memorable performance of all the kids. Kyle Chandler appears a bit stiff at times, but overall he does a fine job as the bold deputy sheriff and caring single dad, Jackson, and Ron Eldard gives a surprisingly great performance as the troubled Louis. The rest of the supporting cast deliver decent performances, with no real standouts or weak links. In terms of visuals and technical qualities, "Super 8" is pretty satisfying to say the least. J.J. Abrams' direction is typically solid and often imaginative, though at times it feels a bit unsteady and maybe too influenced by Spielberg's style. The grainy, murky, exquisitely muted cinematography suits both, the time period and the mysterious atmosphere of the movie, and the production design is quite authentic, if not exactly first-rate. The creature itself is rather disappointing - while its CGI design is pretty slick, it seems a bit overdone, and not particularly memorable. However, the rest of the special effects are impressive and quite flawless, with the 'train crash' sequence being the most jaw-droppingly spectacular moment and, hands down, the visual highlight of the film.

Overall summary: Despite some pacing issues and a rather anti-climatic final act, "Super 8" is still an engrossing, well-crafted and highly atmospheric sci-fi movie with heart, that proudly pays homage to Spielberg's classics, but will hardly be considered as one of them.

18 comments:

J-SON said...

I agree with you, Abrams is under a lot of Spielberg influence here. I felt there isn't a lot of originality in Super 8 but his directing is superb nevertheless. And so is the action as mentioned in your comments of the train wreck scene.

Great review George! :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Great review and I see all your points. I especially loved the train crash. However,I must disagree about the ending. It's E.T. going home, hon. :) You are the second person I know to complain about the ending and I really wonder what you and my friend Dee expected. The army to kill the creature? For it to go home with the kids? For it to die? For the town to be obliterated in a nuclear explosion? For all the main characters to die like in Cloverfield with absolutely no resolution? It was hardly an original ending, and yeah it could have been more exciting, but it was a sci fi happily ever after and it worked for me. It went very well with the entire tone of the film, being exactly what happens with those old family sci fi flicks like Flight of the Navigator, E.T., Close Encounters and Cocoon.

I like that you were thoroughly honest because well, this being one of my favorites I probably did wax a little too poetic about it. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I liked the nostalgic feel (as I would've been about the same age as some of those kids in 1979) and felt it's the best movie so far this summer.

Matthew Vanacore said...

Respectable score. I'm happy you enjoyed it, buddy. As you know I liked it more, but the bottomline is you still had a good time watching it. A number of people were underwhelmed/disappointed by the third act/conclusion, so I can understand your gripe. I was content with the climax, if only because Abrams allowed the characters to exceed the importance of the "alien."

russbetney said...

It sounds like it fell a bit flat, despite all of the hype. I'm still looking forward to seeing it though.

LexiConErrick said...

I half-saw this at a drive-in when I saw Xmen (I watched the other screen because I got bored). I can't wait to see it in it's entirety!

HorrO said...

Great review man! I think we saw it about the same way. Good movie, but not what was expected. I wanted more sci-fi but we got more character story. The kids were great, and so was their acting performance, but I wanted more of the creature. I agree, not the most amazing creature, but maybe it could have been better with more screen time. Also agree that was a great train crash, but really no kids got hurt in all that mess? (lol)

Nebular said...

J-Son, glad you agree, buddy. I didn't find it very original either, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. The train crash was so spectacular, I was like WOW! AWESOME!

Nebular said...

Mel, thanks, sweetheart. Well, I obviously didn't like it as much as you did, for some reasons, but it didn't leave me disappointed.
As for the ending, yes, I thought it was cheesy and so hackneyed. It was the angry-E.T.-turned-friendly-E.T.-assembling-its-super-cool-spaceship-in-a-ridiculous-way. :) I didn't like the creature and the design of it, and I wanted it to get killed. Sadly, it didn't happen.
"Cloverfield" was so much better than S8, and the 'open' ending was free for interpretation.

I'm always honest, hon, and I'm so glad you always appreciate that :)
In brief, I liked it, but not as much as I expected.

Nebular said...

Alex, I liked the nostalgic feel of it, too, but I have to disagree with you. X-Men First Class was the best summer blockbuster of 2011 so far. It was so much better than S8, IMO.

Nebular said...

Matty, I definitely did, but as you said, I was disappointed by the final act. It was cheesy and so unexciting. I felt like we've seen the ending like hundreds of times before. I was like... What was J.J. Abrams thinking?! It's 2011, not 1979 for Christ sake! :)

Nebular said...

Russ, well, it kinda did. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, but the hype was much more exciting than the movie itself. Give it a shot, you might like it better than I did. ;)

Nebular said...

LexiConErrick, you were bored by "X-Men:FC"? Seriously? :) Damn, I thought it was spectacular! If I were you, I wouldn't be that excited about S8 :)

Nebular said...

HorrO, thank you so much, buddy! I think we saw it the same way too. It was a bit too character-driven for my taste, and I expected a lot more action and more screen time for the alien. I don't know... its face was such a mess, I was like.. hey, is that his nose? Oh no, it's his mouth. LOL. :)
As for the train crash... forget about the kids. How about the van driver? He didn't get killed? WOW! He's probably the black version of Superman. LOL.

Maynard Morrissey said...

sooo excited about this movie, but I have to wait until the first August week when it finally hits Austrian theaters.

Did you see it in theater or online?

Nebular said...

Maynard, don't get too excited about it, since you may end up deeply disappointed. Of course I saw it at the theater. Not everything I see, I download from the internet :) Hey, I live next to a HUGE Cineplex! :)

Maynard Morrissey said...

LOL ok, I keep my naughty mouth shut :)

Nebular said...

Oh no, don't! I love your comments :)