monthly fandom

#7: Super 8

Yay for retro style and lens flares!

super 8

Super 8
Released: 2011
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler

Plot Summary:
It’s the summer of 1979. Middle-schooler Joe Lamb and his friends are shooting a movie for a Super 8 camera competition when they witness a train wreck. But it wasn’t an accident, and the man who caused it warns the kids not to tell anyone what they’ve seen. That promise becomes hard to keep when strange things start to happen in Joe’s small town. It’s not really a spoiler to say that the problems turn out to be caused by an alien life form, since that’s pretty obvious from the beginning. What isn’t obvious is what it wants with the town, and how Joe and his father (the sheriff’s deputy) can keep people safe from it.

Memorable Quote:
“Drugs are SO BAD!”

Why I Love It:
The kids are what drew me into this movie right away. Joe and his group are so funny and odd, but at the same time so relatable, that I cared about them from the very first lines. In fact, I grew up with kids like them(although my friends were never quite so foul-mouthed). The energy they put into their zombie movie is impressive. I love when the complete movie plays during the end credits.

The special effects are also impressive, though Super 8 isn’t as effects-driven as most sci-fi films. The train wreck scene is incredible to watch, and the alien makes several fun, scary appearances. I also love the music and the overall retro, 70s feel to the movie. Just like in his Star Trek movies, J.J. Abrams has to throw in a few lens flares, but they’re not too distracting.

But just like in Signs, Super 8‘s alien menace is just a catalyst for the relationships between the characters–particularly Joe, his crush Alice, and their dads. Joe’s mother has died in a factory accident just a few months ago, and all four characters are dealing with the aftermath. Grief, the anger it produces, and forgiveness turn out to be the central themes in Super 8. I don’t think the ending was handled quite as smoothly as it could have been, but there are a few moments in the last scene that still pack a powerful emotional punch.

Super 8 is, most of all, a ton of exciting, hilarious fun. A perfect choice to watch with a big group of friends, especially if they’re fans of the 70s. “Myyy Sharona!”



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