Super 8 (2011) [REVIEW]

 

It’s an alien. Everyone knew that already, right? Sorry if it wasn’t incredibly obvious to you, but this movie was so very clearly about some type of alien. With that stuff out of the way, it was still anyone’s game as far as what could happen in the movie. Obviously J.J. Abrams being associated with something science fiction automatically makes you think of surprises, viral marketing, and mystery. From the very first teaser, I was super excited about this movie, and that teaser came out a year ago. Once a full length trailer was released, I was still interested, but I knew it wasn’t going to be as much of a head scratcher as something like Cloverfield. The closer and closer this movie got to being released, the more and more clips and advertising material was being put out there, that I avoided like the fucking plague. Clearly this movie wasn’t trying to stir up as much mystery as some of Abrams’s previous endeavors, but I wasn’t taking the risk, and despite being a little hesitant, that didn’t stop me from going to see it as soon as it opened. And don’t worry too much about spoilers, because yes, there will be some, but there isn’t some huge twist or anything like that, because it’s so obviously aliens.

 

The filmmakers really hit the nail on the head when depicting what it was like to be a child in the late 1970’s who film zombies movies. Take it from me, because that’s exactly what I was doing in the late 1970’s.

Joe Lamb’s mom has died in some sort of accident and the only person to take care of him is his dad, the deputy of the town they live in. One of the few things that Joe, played by Joel Courtney, has that gets him excited, is his group of friends that he makes movies with on a super 8 camera. I wonder if that’s how they came up with the name of the movie? Hmm, probably just a coincidence. While filming a scene as a train passes by, Joel sees a car get on the tracks, which caused a huge goddamned explosion. Their camera falls and is left for dead as the friends gather their members, and as they see authorities approaching, grab their equipment and head home, and make sure to send the film away to be developed. Considering this movie was taking place in the late 70’s, it took three days for the film to get developed. During that time, the Air Force shows up and begins a sneaky cleanup of the whole incident and after questioning the Air Force, Joe’s dad gets taken into custody. Between car engines disappearing, as well as neighborhood dogs, it’s obvious that there’s more going on than just a train wreck, and we learn that the man who drove his car onto the tracks used to be someone who took care of the alien that has escaped the train. The kids get the developed film and see the alien escaping the train wreck, and learn that the alien has been getting around town via underground tunnels. When Joe comes face to face with the alien, rather than being terrified, he remains calm, and the psychic connection that the alien shares with him causes him to leave Joe alone. All the alien was doing was building a giant electromagnet that he used to get all of the pieces of his ship, and by the end of the movie, he has gotten all the pieces back, and we see the alien ship leave Earth.

 

Ron Eldard, is that you?! I haven’t seen you since Men Behaving Badly! Anyone else remember that show? It was terrible.

See, not too spoiler-filled, was it? Hopefully this movie helps get rid of the stigma of twist endings or anything like that, and focuses more on J.J. Abrams just knowing how to cause intrigue with his films. This movie was a lot of fun, and had quite a few traditional jump scares that were effective. Without spoiling things further, but also knowing J.J. Abrams’s style, the alien itself looked like something similar to the Cloverfield monster, which did lead to a little bit of confusion at what you were looking at anytime you saw it. Other than the alien itself, the style of the movie resembled Spielberg, and I mean that in a good way. I suppose Abrams is known for his inclusion of lens flares, which were happening throughout the entire film, but it does seem to add an otherworldly impact on everything that you’re seeing, as well as an almost nostalgic feel given to the whole movie. The kids themselves were enjoyable to watch, with their personality quirks being just familiar enough that you could remember a friend of yours that was similar to them, yet not so extreme that you were annoyed with them. The whole movie was quite a bit of fun, despite being a little underwhelming on the mysterious side, but definitely worth a viewing.

 

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