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    Super 8 (Movie Review)

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    Paeter
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    Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on June 10th 2011, 3:45 pm

    Let's get this out of the way. Super 8 is a 10 out of 10. I don't know how it could realistically be any better. The "Goonies" for this generation. Go see it. Now for why...

    In 1979, a pre-teen boy and his friends pass the summer by making movies together on 8mm film. But while passionately shooting their zombie flick, a train derails right in front of them, and it is later learned that something emerged from the wreckage and is now causing dangerous and mysterious happenings in this small town community. There is so much more I'd like to say about the plot, but giving any more detail in a synopsis would risk spoiling the various gems in this story that should really be experienced on a first viewing.

    The movie could be described as a blend of mystery, drama, suspense and science fiction. It works for the same reason that Battlestar Galactica and the best of Farscape work. It works for the same reason that Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T. work: Compelling characters you care about who experience real, emotional, human drama that just happens to have a sci-fi backdrop.

    It's no surpise that this flick feels a bit like classic Spielberg movies despite being written and directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek). Spielberg served as a producer for this movie, and it has his trademarks all over it.

    The performances are amazing across the board, especially among the kids in the lead. I felt like I was watching real kids. Not the kind that are too clever, too capable or too nice. These kids cuss when their parents aren't around, they're funny in that awkward pre-teen way and have tremendous vulnerability, which lends incredible tension to the action and suspense sequences. Either these kids will be big stars in the near future, or J.J. Abrams is a genius at bringing out authentic, genuinely emotional performances in young actors.

    This movie has mastered the art of surprise action. At the moments I least expected, bad things suddenly started to happen and I jumped in my seat more times than I can keep track of. And the natural vulnerability built into young protagonists kept me cringing and on the edge of my seat during action sequences more than any movie has in years. Abrams knows that suspense works in direct proportion to how much we care about those threatened, and puts that knowledge to skillful use.

    The effects are great, though not groundbreaking, and they are used very well. Creature effects are used sparingly, but not so sparingly that the movie feels cheap. Rather the creature is kept hidden and revealed only bit by bit as the movie progresses, and even in the end we never get a full screen, brightly lit shot that allows us to examine every detail. I wish more film makers would do this, instead of assuming that their special effects "masterpiece" is so cool and real looking that they can and should show it off in every frame possible.

    The movie is much more cathartic than it is about expressing ideas or messages. I think you're highly unlikely to talk about anything of philosophical value after seeing this, but you may just spend 20 minutes sharing what it was that made the experience so intense or enjoyable for you.

    Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.


    Quality: 10/10

    Relevance: 5.5/10



    For information about my scoring system, visit- spiritblade.net/reviewscores

    Or listen to this review this weekend at- spiritblade.net/podcast


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    Rickster

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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on June 12th 2011, 1:42 am

    WOW two 10 out of 10 within a few month of each other and with GL opening next week should we expect another 10?

    Paeter
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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on June 13th 2011, 8:20 pm

    Rickster wrote:WOW two 10 out of 10 within a few month of each other and with GL opening next week should we expect another 10?

    I know, crazy. I thought long and hard about giving that 10, not wanting to go "10 Happy". But it was definitely a 10 in my book. For VERY different reasons than Suckerpunch was, but still a big 10 for me.

    As for GL, I highly doubt I'll be giving it a 10. I think the experience for me might be like watching a "10" movie, but since I'm such a huge GL nerd I will be as cautious as I can, possibly to a fault, as I critically evaluate it.

    Still can't wait to see it, though!


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    litera9

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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  litera9 on June 15th 2011, 10:41 am

    I loved this movie as well. Super 8 was a great rendition of both emotion, action, scare, and humor. I have heard some people complain about the kids' language, but I think it's far more accurate to the kids of the day. It was my most anticipated movie of the year, and it has blown me away.

    Paeter, I've heard a lot of reviewers call this film "The 21st century's The goonies". Would you agree or disagree with this statement? Do you even like The Goonies?

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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on June 17th 2011, 6:22 pm

    litera9 wrote:

    Paeter, I've heard a lot of reviewers call this film "The 21st century's The goonies". Would you agree or disagree with this statement? Do you even like The Goonies?

    That was actually in the first paragraph of my review, too. I agree. It has many differences from the goonies, but the way goonies treated kids (like the language stuff you noticed) was unique in its realism. Goonies also had a realistic awkward pre-teen humor about it. It was a movie celebrating childhood that adults can enjoy, rather than most movies with kid protagonists which are aimed at kids and empower them unrealistically.

    Goonies also has a few scares in it. It was a movie about kids that wasn't "kid-friendly" for all kids. A rare breed.

    And yeah, I think The Goonies is a classic.


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    mindspike
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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  mindspike on June 18th 2011, 1:14 pm

    Kids cursing in movies bothers me - and I don't think it an accurate portrayal of that period of life at all.

    Even as late as high-school, profanity was not very prevalent among the kids I knew. We had "that one kid with the foul mouth" that enjoyed shocking everyone, but for the rest of us, a h--- or d--- was strong language indeed, and to call someone a b---- was way over the top. Much of the appeal of "R" movies, especially those by Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy, was the presence of that kind of language, which gave us the adrenaline thrill of the forbidden. Even into high-school, when cursing wasn't such a big deal, you just simply didn't speak like that. Teachers and parents would reprimand you in public, lessons that carried over even when they weren't around. And as kids, we simply had not developed the habit of cursing - even kids who grew up on homes where the air turned blue with regularity (and I knew a few of those....).

    In my experience - and not coincidentally, in studies of language habits - the habit of cursing for other than shock value is largely developed once a person leaves the home as a young adult. In this time of life, a young adult is considered responsible for their own language. No one reprimands them for cursing. The combination of the puerile thrill, experienced emotional release, immediate gratification (generally through the garnering of brief attention without negative repercussion), and a lack of vocabulary contributes strongly towards developing the habit of cursing.

    It's been my experience that kids simply don't curse the way they seem to in the movies, and this has always offended me in films that try to provide an "authentic" kids film. The Goonies is a good example of this, so is "Adventures in Babysitting". (Another classic, IMHO.)

    This is one of the criticisms I've heard of Super 8, that the language and violence alone are one of the best reasons NOT to see this film as a family. That it may use kids as the focus of the movie, but this is emphatically not a film suitable for kids.


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    Paeter
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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on June 18th 2011, 2:13 pm

    mindspike wrote:Kids cursing in movies bothers me - and I don't think it an accurate portrayal of that period of life at all.

    Even as late as high-school, profanity was not very prevalent among the kids I knew.

    This is one of the criticisms I've heard of Super 8, that the language and violence alone are one of the best reasons NOT to see this film as a family. That it may use kids as the focus of the movie, but this is emphatically not a film suitable for kids.

    I think we grew up playing on very different playgrounds at recess. Wink

    I'd definitely agree that it's not a "family movie". And unfortunately lots of undiscerning folks will probably go with their kids because they see kids as protagonists in previews and assume it's "safe".


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    Re: Super 8 (Movie Review)

    Post  mindspike on June 18th 2011, 7:30 pm

    Paeter wrote:I think we grew up playing on very different playgrounds at recess. Wink

    Well that would explain why I never saw you around campus, or possibly why we never wound up on the same team.... Basketball


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