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Science Fiction Movie Review--"Super 8" (2011)

****Be Advised: This Review May Contain SPOLIERS!***

Written & Directed by J.J. Abrams, Produced by Steven Spielberg. Starring: Elle Fanning, Amanda (AJ) Michalka, Joel Courtney & Kyle Chandler.

So I finally bit the bullet and watched “Super 8.” I’ve hesitated to watch it because I’ve heard so many negative comments and read so many bad or semi-bad reviews of it. But, it really came down to the fact that most of the time I feel the opposite of others and have to check it out for myself. Note I said most of the time…

The first thing about this movie that should send up a red flag is its title. Compare the title “Super 8” to the likes of “War of the Worlds,” “Invaders From Mars,” “E.T. The Extraterrestrial,” “Star Wars,” or “The Black Hole,” to name a few. What do you notice? All those titles tell something of what the movie’s story is about. When I hear the title “Super 8,” I immediately think the movie is going to involve of a group of eight Superheroes. I’m sure I’m not the only one that was surprised to learn it was called “Super 8” because a group of kids were doing a zombie movie using the old Super 8 camcorder. That, at least, gives us an indication of when the story takes place (1979). I know some will probably argue that it makes sense because the kids filmed the train wreck on the Super 8 camcorder thus starting the meat of the story. But I say that is simply a way to excuse and dismiss a bad title (Yes, there are those that would think that it can’t be wrong if it comes from Spielberg or Abrams. C’mon, people. They’re not creativity gods or something!). A better title would’ve been something along the lines of, “The Alien That Just Wanted To Go Home.” And, yes. I know that’s lame but I think it makes my point.

The progression of the story starts so slow, has so little action In the beginning that I almost turned it off before it got started. I know movies have to give us back-story and show the relationships of the main characters. But fully the first half, and maybe more (I didn't actually time it) seemed more like a Young Love-type story between Joe Lamb and Alice Dainard (played by Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, quite good too). Honestly, if “Super 8” wasn’t supposed to be a Science Fiction story it would’ve been fine. Another issue with story in this movie is that it was a worn out, predictable story. A movie about an alien that’s misunderstood and (or because) he simply wants to get off the rat hole that is Earth and go home has been done before.

The two most positive things about “Super 8” were the special effects and the acting.  Even though the effects were pretty atypical of modern Science Fiction/Action movies they were done really well. Although, I have to say the alien reminded me of a dog! :-D

I thought Kyle Chandler (“Early Edition,” “Friday Night Lights”) did an awesome job as Jackson Lamb, the previously mentioned Joe Lamb’s father. Jackson, who is a Sheriff’s Deputy in the beginning, takes control, essentially becoming the new Sheriff, after the Sheriff disappears and the Air Force comes in and takes over the town. The character is supposed to be more of a supporting role. The kids are the main character focus. In my opinion, though, it was Deputy Lamb that moved the story along quicker and better.

Overall, “Super 8” was just an o.k. Science Fiction movie. The story was slow and tired but done fairly decent. I would cautiously recommend it if you can’t find anything better or you just like these kinds of stories.

My rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Be sure to leave your comment(s) below. I'm curious what you think...agree or disagree.  :-)

Watch The Official “Super 8” Trailer:

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