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    June 9, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: SUPER 8

    SUPER 8 (PG13)

    Genre: Action/Thriller/Science Fiction/Horror
    Release Date: 9 June 2011
    Running Time: 112 minutes
    Distributor: Paramount Pictures
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Screenplay: J.J. Abrams
    Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich

    Plot: In 1979 the United States Air Force shuts down a portion of Area 51 and ships the material stored at the decommissioned site by rail to an undisclosed but secure location in Ohio. In the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio, a group of teenagers are making a movie with a Super 8 mm film camera when they witness a train crash. They suspect it was not an accident. There are disappearances and unexplained events around town, and the local deputy investigates the cause of the events leading to the discovery of something nobody expects.

    Review: “Super 8” encompasses the exact emotional and life displays that might have been mistakenly accused for simply ripping them off from other 80s classics like E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial and The Goonies. The two names behind this movie are some of the most talented. Firstly, of course, all of these three movies are relatively connected to the one and only name – Steven Spielberg, highly regarded as the most influential human being in the entertainment business. Similarly, all of these three titles are great summer movies on their own. In Super 8, Spielberg collaborated with director J.J. Abrams, a man who converges on making a solid story beyond his impressive imagination and visual acuity. When two super brains come together, what is the end result we could have expected and does Super 8 a great movie after all? Read on to know why.


    In 1979, the United States Air Force decides to shut down a portion of the Area 51, beginning to ship the material stored at the decommissioned site through rail. Inside the freight train that supposed to store some of most sensitive part of the whole secrets about Area 51, little does anyone know what exactly is in the list of cargo. That night, in the town of Lillian, Ohio, a group of young teenagers are shooting a scene for their movie with a Super 8 film camera. Their dream is simple, make a movie and submit it to the local Super 8 film festival. However, little do Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths), Carey (Ryan Lee), Preston (Zach Mills) and Martin (Gabriel Basso) know what happens next will change their life forever.


    When one moment arrives, Charles decides to use the passing freight train as a “dramatic-addition” to his scene in the movie. Joe realizes a pickup is driven frantically into the rail road, in a set course of collision with the freight train. Before he is able to fully composure what is about to happen at that moment, the collision occurs and every freight car tumbles high up in the air, explosions are seen or heard everywhere across their set of shooting. Against all odds, they survived and have eventually witness a freak train accident.

    The next day, they begin to suspect something anomaly about the accident – probably it is not just an accident after all! Soon, there are disappearances and unexplained events around the town. Joe’s father, Jack (Kyle Chandler) is the deputy sheriff of the town. He is assured that all these ominous events must have anything to do with the train accident, despite heavy guards of information by the Air Force. The teenagers, meanwhile, begin to investigate the ominous events too when they discovered something inhuman in their recorded 8mm movie.


    Yes, Super 8 is a great summer movie that reminds me that the Hollywood does not make this kind of movie that often anymore. If J.J. Abrams is aiming for a sheer of incredible imagination to fuel the story-telling department, he nails it nicely. If J.J. Abrams in intending to make this movie a homage to other Spielberg’s works by pin-pointing the emotional and characterization in balance, he nails that too. All in all, Super 8 showcases yet again, how J.J. Abrams is able to create another brilliant imagination and attentive story-telling without even ruining anything with mere explosion for actions, maintaining a high emotional picturesque of capturing the hearts of the audience and fueling the intensity of action sequences orderly. The plot is submissively lovable, and again another strong and bold writing from J.J. Abrams. Clearly, anyone who is able to do all of these things in one goes with close to perfection must be a genius himself.

    Then, we also see how the collaborations between J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are deemed deliberate and workable. I am quite decent and satisfy with the outcome, simply because Super 8 is a true homage and a throw back into the past, borrowing exquisite elements from Spielberg’s past classics, just like the two that I have mentioned in the first paragraph. Apart from the amazing writing, the methods on how they used the children or young teenagers to anchor a story is something that proved more effectively to channel certain emotions better than the adults. I guess, the correct formula is been used for this movie by keeping the adult characters at bay as much as possible. The setting is retro, nostalgic at most and heart-warming at best. Seeing kids riding bicycles across the neighborhood, seeing kids going at night stealing parents vehicle nothing more than just to achieve a small noble ambition seems more like a fantasy for the modern day.


    Yet, the movie manages to grab all of those into a charmer, it feels so real that we are riding on the 70s era. Notice the different between the adults and the children during the era – while the setting is during the Cold War, it is understandable that the adults will feel the danger and chaotic situation to have something to do with the Soviet Union. Children, in contrast, live a carefree and imaginative thought. Essentially one of my favorite scenes in the movie is the part when Joe shows Alice a Super 8 recording of his late mother - if that scene is not touching, what could that be you are expecting?

    Yet, I will not revealed ‘what’ or ‘who’ is the unknown creature because telling you so even in a sentence long description is already considered a spoiler; yet it is best to keep it anonymous, not to defeat the purposes of the marketing itself. The best part about the movie is how the marketing team has able to work around to clock to ensure not even a single image of the creature is leaked out. I am, surprisingly, does not think the creature is anyway different or somewhat any big deviation from my initial imaginations. Therefore, frankly, I am not surprised, amazed, nor disappointed with the revelations in the end.


    However, there are some minor issues on the movie as well. While the first half of the movie is charming, the second half feels a little lay back. It is not lazy but I thought the ending could not have much impact and serves to the best to conclude the amazing build up. It goes down a little wasted because I believe the ending should and could have been better.

    In the end, Super 8 is clearly the best I have watched this summer. I just love it and it does well by successfully reconnecting the audience back to the 80s, while also recapturing the joy and thrill from the perspective of a bunch of kids. Seriously, how many times a Hollywood movie does this kind of stuff nowadays. Super 8 is a rare outcome of almost-perfection with an amazing scripts, imaginations and emotional displays. Watch it and feel it.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 4.5
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 18.0/20.0
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