Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #243 Super 8

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2011 at 3:26 AM

Movie #243 Super 8

(2011, US, d. J.J. Abrams)

Abrams tries to recreate the atmosphere and tone of the old Amblin/Spielberg films of the late 80’s and early 90’s in the action-thriller Super 8. To a large extent, he does this. In fact, he does this exceptionally well. It’s strange to see how few movies these days are made with as much heart as this one. Abrams is content to not have sex jokes or pander to the modern day teens. He just wants to create a tone, and by doing so, attracts all audiences. It’s a film about a wonderful group of kids who are in the middle of shooting a scene in their short film when they witness a massive train wreck and a possible alien encounter. Like any Spielberg film, the film is not about the alien or its attacks, but rather about a boy named Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney) who must learn to let go of his deceased mother and come closer to his father. Again, the tone and atmosphere Abrams set is beyond commendable: the scenery and dialogue is straight out of a classic 80’s film. The heart is all there. Where the film fails though is in its third act. Super 8 is a film about letting go and the third act goal should symbolize that. Abrams’ mistake here is making the third act about saving each other from the monster and running away when it should have been about getting the monster home. Sure that would have been a lot like E.T. (and I’m sure it was a conscious decision to stay away from that plot line) but it would have been the only way it could work. Abrams shoots himself in the foot not with a handgun but with a shotgun, multiple times, with his third act. For a film that sets you up so well, it’s truly disappointing to walk out of the theater feeling the way you did, even if it ended all well.

  1. I completely agree. The film for me was a great let down. Being born in the 1990s I missed out on watching some of the great Steven Speilberg films in theaters. After hearing about how much this film was supposed to recreate that unique feel I couldn’t help but go watch it. Unfortunately, my friends and I left the theater wondering what we had just watched. It was by no means a terrible film but it was definitely missing some movie magic.

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