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Super 8

Super 8: Old-School Sci-Fi Fails to Amaze

  • Amanda MichalkaElle Fanning...
  • Mystery & SuspenseScience Fiction...
  • J.J. Abrams
reviewed by
Omar Atef
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Super 8: Old-School Sci-Fi Fails to Amaze

In a small town in Ohio in 1979,  thirteen-year-old Joe Lamb (Courtney) is coming to terms with the sudden death of his
mother. A few months on, he and his friends witness a fatal train accident while filming a low-budget zombie film. In the wreckage,
they discover masses of small strange silver cubes, and their biology teacher
Dr Woodward (Turman) at the wheel of the truck that caused the accident. He
tells them that they mustn’t speak to anyone about what they’ve seen, and that if
they do so their parents would be killed.

Shaken by the accident, they flee
and leave their super 8 film boxes, which are found by the U.S Air Force who
quickly arrive to investigate the crash site. Soon after their arrival, strange
occurrences begin to plague the town: power lines and car engines disappear,
pets flee their owners, and people begin to go missing, one of whom is Alice
(Fanning); one of Joe’s friends and the daughter of the alcoholic worker who is
responsible for Joe’s mother’s accidental death.

The plot of Super 8 promises more than it delivers. The beginning is tense,
interesting and sets up the rest of the film well. Unfortunately, as the film
develops, the storytelling isn’t as
interesting or thrilling. The story progresses through the eyes of a group of
high school kids, and so there is a clash when it comes to the events and
themes of the film, and the way they are portrayed to an adult audience.

Writer/director
J.J. Abrams could have also done with shortening a number of unnecessary
scenes. Steven Spielberg’s contribution as a producer might have also served
in raising expectations in relation to the execution of films that he is usually
involved in. Special effects are at a disappointing premium, despite the genre
and content of the film.

New talents are always a gamble,
especially when they’re young. Luckily, the young core of the cast all perform,
with particular praise going to the two
main stars Courtney and Fanning.

Super 8 was
among the most highly anticipated movies of the year, and is expected to be a blockbuster summer hit. However, the film
is very slow-paced and isn’t heavy enough on the typical Hollywood blockbuster
elements, which was a real disappointment. The fact that the film tries to focus on character development and old-fashioned storytelling actually works against it, as the plot is not absorbing enough.

Super 8 isn’t a terrible film by any
means, but you can’t help the feeling disappointed. It’s stuck between the feel of an independent
production and a Hollywood subject. Sci-fi fans will enjoy Super 8, but this is neither as epic nor as intriguing as a
Speilberg-Abrams collaboration should be.

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360 Tip

J.J. Abrams named the film's setting, Lillian, Ohio, after his grandmother.

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