Movie Review: SUPER 8 (2011) – A Mix Of Multiple Spielberg Movies

Published by Shah Shahid on

After loving his movies like STAR TREK, being obsessed with his current hit FRINGE, and awaiting his upcoming fall shows like ALCATRAZ and PERSON OF INTEREST… I’m sad to say that J. J. Abrams dropped the ball when it came to his latest directorial feature, SUPER 8.

Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

Premise: A bunch of kids in the 1970s become witness to a horrible train accident while shooting their amateur movie, in super 8 mm film format. (Hence the name of the movie.) After the event, their town becomes embroiled in a mysterious presence by the Military searching for something/one and strange disappearances all over the town.

Produced by Spielberg and written/directed by J. J. Abrams, SUPER 8 really becomes like every other Spielberg movie. I don’t understand why, but he doesn’t seem to wanna break out of his olden day style of stories… as SUPER 8 is the same ol’ Alien trapped on Earth story that we’ve seen a billion times.

Sure, it’s done very uniquely and the kids are amazing actors; not to mention that despite being set in the 70’s (I think) the movie didn’t really say out loud that it was a period film, rather showed it very subtly through the characters and the town.

hanging around the ol’ chocolate shoppe…


SUPER 8 is all about how a former scientist befriends an Alien crashed on Earth decades ago and tries to free him from the control of the Military. The setting of his liberation happens on a small American town in the 70’s where a group of kids are witness to his escape and get caught up in the Military’s attempted capture of said Alien.

The Military, as usual, is portrayed as horrible and evil, trying to subdue and experiment on a helplessly misunderstood Alien. The story is told from the perspective of these adolescents, which is pretty cool. It’s highlarious seeing these young kids freaking out about the life and death situations they find themselves in. The only known faces that will be recognized in SUPER 8 are Kyle Chandler and Ron Eldard.

‘thank you, come again’

Playing fathers of the lead boy and girl, the two characters are estranged by a common accident. The emotional angles of the story play out, rather insignificantly. Sure they enrich the characters and help us relate to and sympathize with them… but they don’t really have any place in the plot of the movie which involves an escaped Alien wreaking havoc on a small town.

The kid actors are pretty brilliant though. Joel Courtney in the lead as Joe Lamb is awesome. He reminds me almost of a younger Anton Yelchin. Elle Fanning as the girl he’s smitten is great.

cool kids…

What’s a little frustrating is, like I said before, that SUPER 8 becomes really like every other Spielberg movie involving aliens. However with the involvement of J. J. Abrams in this mix, the film is executed rather well, but doesn’t make up for the lack of any real interest in the actual storyline beyond the cool shit like cars getting thrown around. The opening sequence of the train derailment itself is something that’d make Michael Bay proud.

Especially when the damn Alien goes home, with the entire town looking up in awe. It’s very CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, or E. T. or… well you get my point.

Some scenes seem to be directly taken from CLOVERDALE. Like the one with the kids frantically running around town and exploding houses, as tanks and missile fire all around them are exactly like the ones from CLOVERDALE. Only replace small kids with drunken adults and houses with city streets.


SUPER 8 plays itself like a mix of [insert Spielberg involved Alien movie] and CLOVERDALE. It maybe a more interesting film for kids, however the swearing and  violence may not be suitable for kids of a younger age… so it kinda leaves the film with nowhere to go.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


Nostra · July 11, 2013 at 5:46 AM

Great movie which I really liked…brought me back to the eighties and reminded me a bit of E.T.

    Shah Shahid · July 12, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    I wanted to like it. The likes of JJ Abrams + Spielberg seemed amazing. At the end of the day though, I was disappointed. It did remind me of the 80’s and ET as well.

    Thanks for stopping by Nostra.

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