While he may have gotten his big break with Mission Impossible III, writer, director, and producer J.J. Abrams has become one of the most prolific figures in the world of modern science fiction cinema. He’s known for creating a plethora of different things and helping some well-known franchises reach unthinkable heights. After producing a film named Cloverfield back in 2008, J.J. Abrams was looking to dive back into the science fiction monster genre. In 2011, he finally found his calling with the Steven Spielberg produced Super 8.
How to Stream or Download Super 8
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. If you like the setting and the story, you should also definitely watch Stranger Things which has a surprisingly similar premise.
The Movie Review
The story is set in Ohio, in 1979, where a group of young children is making a fun zombie film with their Super 8 camera. However, their filming is cut short when they’re witnesses to a horrifying train crash. They barely scrape away from the accident with their lives.
This traumatic event turns out to be no accident, in fact, it turns out to be something much more sinister as a series of disappearances and suspicious instances soon follow. The malicious nature of these events begins to unfold as Deputy Jackson Lamb launches his investigation, while the children seek the truth on their own.
The thing that makes this film stand out is not just the characters, but rather the drastic nature of how these characters evolve through the trauma. They are going through some genuinely messed up things in this movie’s world, and they come out victorious by the end and have changed as people. This change is showcased throughout the film, as they grow with each decision they make and find their place in a world that is terrifying and hostile towards them.
J.J. Abrams is a smart director, instead of pacing this as a monster film from the get-go, he makes you wait for it. There’s something obviously eerie going on in Super 8’s mysterious plot, but the cards don’t fully unfold onto your screen until you’re begging to see it.
There’s so much going on in this story even before the real threat surfaces, a lot of character-oriented drama, and the children all have personalities of their own that are conveyed greatly through the acting.
These kids are all better actors than expected, they deliver really well-acted performances. The best performance out of them all is definitely by Elle Fanning, who plays the main lead for the most part along with Joel Courtney.
These two have great chemistry, while Kyle Chandler has the toughest job as an adult. Jackson Lamb is the character responsible for revealing some of the most important plot devices in the film. Kyle Chandler brings his A-Game when it comes to expressing how bleak some of the things he uncovers can get.
When it comes to presentation, there are a lot of missed opportunities here. This is something that is prominent in almost every J.J. Abrams film, and it’s no exception here. The film has the chance to look much more grotesque, eerie, and genuinely haunting, but those sparks of greatness are totally missed for a more linear-looking film. This combined with some dull and unrealistic CGI makes the quality of the film feel much lower than it should.
Composer Michael Giacchino does a great job at elevating the film’s sequences with his intense soundtrack design. However, as an auditory experience, the soundtrack doesn’t have much to offer. The songs are great when accompanying the film, though aside from that they feel quite mundane and aren’t memorable at all.
Super 8 is one of the most gripping science fiction feature films of the modern age, and it’s not because of any one particular aspect. It’s a narrative-driven, genre-bending, and emotionally challenging film with so much to love.
The missed opportunity here is the cinematography, as the visuals are up to no spark. Though, when compared to a lot of J.J. Abrams’ other films, this might be at the top next to Star Trek: Into Darkness.
- Fantastic story, well-executed and directed.
- Well-written characters with a lot of depth.
- A cast that has immersed themselves into their roles.
- Visually very weak, lots of missed opportunities.
- CGI issues; feels quite computerized and unrealistic to look at.