Super 8

Originally, I wasn't going to review Super 8. It has been thoroughly examined by geek bloggers in every cloister of the web. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had a few things to say about this heartfelt sci-fi flick. Granted, all I can do is echo the sentiments of others. The general consensus amongst genre fans is that Super 8 is a warm, nostalgic creature feature in the same vein as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I'm inclined to agree. J.J. Abrams succeeded in replevying that "Spielberg glow" that so many filmmakers have tried to espouse as their own. Not even Spielberg himself has been able to recapture lightning in a bottle, though he came close when he gave War of the Worlds a baronial facelift.

I wish I had seen Super 8 in theaters. This is a large-scale blockbuster done right. I have read crabby expostulations about the monster (I'll get to Cooper later), but if you're focusing on the sci-fi horseplay, you're missing the point. The plot concerns a group of kids, and that's where you will find the meat of the matter. This is a "coming of age" tale akin to Explorers or Stand by Me. I know that a script is well-written if it convinces me to root for the child characters. As a rule, I detest children (especially fictional ones), but I actually liked the kids portrayed by Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee and the ridiculously cute Elle Fanning. They upstaged their adult co-stars.

Super 8 would be watchable with or without an alien. Of course, I should address the alien. It's...meh. I'm content with the design, but was it necessary to resort to CGI every single time we see the extraterrestrial quasi-spider? It's such an eyesore. Abrams should have approached the beastie effects however he would have approached them in 1979. That would have solidified the "throwback" vibe that he was shooting for. The digital droppings are a petty hindrance, but Jesus, they built the marketing campaign around the fucking alien. Either deliver the goods or extract the horror elements altogether. To be perfectly honest, I preferred the effects in "The Case." Suck on that, Industrial Light & Magic!

Detractors cite the derivative nature of the premise as the grapnel that drags Super 8 down, but this was never supposed to be an innovative project. It wasn't intended to be a groundbreaking motion picture, and if you ask me, it didn't need to be entirely original. The characters are sympathetic, the pacing is watertight and the central cast members are talented beyond their years. What else do you want? I mean, besides practical effects? And to those of you who believe that Super 8 is a sequel/prequel to Cloverfield, knock it off. If anything, it's a sequel/prequel to Witchcraft IX: Bitter Flesh, and no, I have no idea where that came from.


  1. Agree, this one was more about the nostalgia factor and the dynamics between the kids than the monster itself, I personally didnt care much for it, I prefered the scenes with the kids, same as in Explorers and Goonies, the kids are the stars of the show.

    The aliens face kind of reminded me of a meaner E.T., with its separated eyes, Im sure that was done on purpose.

  2. This one kept changing genres from creepy, to comedy, to just plain drama/sad.