Super 8 (2011) Review

director: J. J. Abrams

writer: J. J. Abrams 

starring: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka and Kyle Chandler 

genre: Sci-Fi

released: June 10, 2011 (U.S.) 

When a love testament is made, whats better, to come close to the magic of the films you loved or try to do that and much more? If anybody has seen The Goonies (1985) or E.T. (1982), will have understood by then seeing Super 8 that the magic isn't there anymore, and that we are only seeing, a good film that is of a another era. If you've not seen those films, than you will presumably have a great time and are in dire need of seeing those said films.


We follow a young group of amateur filmmakers, that have fun by shooting super 8 films. The director is Charles the leader of the bunch, the actor Martin, the effects guy Cary and the makeup guy Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) who is the lead character of the film. They recruit a girl, Alice (Elle Fanning) to be actress in their new zombie film and a part of the group. While shooting a scene at abandoned train station, things go horribly wrong. A incoming train derails and explodes, revealing mysterious cargo inside. From then on the gang and the city have an government conspiracy on their hands. The gang and their parents now trying to look for a solution to their own personal issues and the imminent threat that might be out there.


Now who could have said that tributing the good old days of the late 70's and 80's would be bad? no one really. As most of us, grew up on the films of that day and age. It's just that the impact that those films had, isn't easy to replicate. We've seen Close Encounters, the Goonies and E.T.. Super 8 is like a combination of those films and a little of Cloverfield. Not making out the film, to sound like a ripoff, but using many of the common elements that made those films so great in the first place doesn't make your film quite special as well in the end.

Those elements were needed to make Super 8 be like the films of the era as that was Abrams goal. But these are the only primary elements really played out compared to any new ones. Lets list them: the gang of kids are all differentiated and cool, there is a government conspiracy, last there is a family drama that makes everything much deeper and more meaningful. Does this all ring a bell? The most common characteristics of some of the 80's best sci-fi/family films.

All these complaints are not to portray Super 8 as a bad film, but instead to state the obvious that it does nothing more than be good representation of the way stories were in the 80's. I wish Abrams had brought something new to the table instead of sticking to the formula. All the right components are there from great direction, acting and production, to make a good film as he did. But that's all.


Abrams is known by most for being the creator of Alias, Felicity, co-creator of Lost, and director of numerous episodes of those shows and director of Star Trek and Mission Impossible 3. Super 8 is no exception in being another well made project by J.J. If it wasn't more than just a trip down memory lane than Super 8 might have been one of those films, that fans would crave for more often. Super 8 is fun, tells a good story and I do recommended it as its better almost most of things that Hollywood puts out. Just expectations should be better kept to a minimum than expecting another Cloverfield (as most will). 

Personal Rating:


review by Paul Katsaros

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