Super 8 (2011) Review

Yell! Magazine review:

For what was originally thought to be an alien rampage movie akin to Cloverfield, at least from what the first trailers seemed to indicate, the new J.J. Abrams film, Super 8, turned into something more like E.T. on steroids. The results were, therefore, quite disappointing.

The original idea was a cool one: An alien held captive for a decade is transported from an Abrams-conceived Area 51 lab to another facility across the country (the reason for the move is not given). When the train crashes, the alien escapes to exact its revenge on the people of Earth.

From this premise your mind conjures up great chase scenes, massive amounts of destruction, and a central group of scientists and military men finding a way to stop the alien before too much of the country is left in ruins. But this is not what you get.

Instead, you are introduced to a group of kids who witness the train crash while filming a low-budget zombie movie for entry in a local film contest. When the girl of the group is captured by the alien, the others go about rescuing her. The alien, a subterranean creature who has dug a series of tunnels under the town, is using the local population as food while it collects electronic parts (microwave ovens and such) from the area to create a giant magnet. It uses the magnet to attract the cubes (in the possession of the military) which it needs to rebuild its ship.

Spoiler alert
The kids are successful in rescuing their female friend and the alien is successful in leaving the planet to return home.

Abrams takes a page out of Spielberg’s book for both the story (just a different version of E.T.) and the way he introduces the alien (you don’t actually see the creature until midway through the film, which reminds you of what Spielberg did with the shark in Jaws). The use of these ideas come as no surprise when you realize Spielberg was the executive producer of the film.

In the end, Super 8 failed to bring audiences anything original. And it didn’t make up for that fault by showing something visually awesome. The train crash was the highlight and that even looked exaggerated in its execution (rail cars were flying like rockets after the engine car was only struck by a single pick up truck).

Super 8 Trailer:

Super 8 (2011) Poster Large
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
10 June 2011
J.J. Abrams
Joel Courtney, Jessica Tuck, Joel McKinnon Miller, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills
Official URL:
Super 8 the movie

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