Film Archive: Super 8 (2011) Review

A Pretty good sci-fi film, with a great young cast that does a good job at building atmosphere and tension throughout.

Certificate: 12A

Director: J.J. Abrams

Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler

Genre: Mystery, Sci Fi

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined. – From IMDB

I love Sci-Fi.  Like, a lot.  And the more I watch, the more I start to realise that it might be my favourite genre.  I don’t mean the epic space battles and laser swords kind of sci-fi a la Star Wars.  But the more realistic, unsettling, could happen to anyone kind of sci fi that you find here and with films like Arrival, The Martian or Moon.  Sci Fi that isn’t outside the realm of possibility. 

I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this film.  Sometimes, films with a young ensemble cast can fall a little flat for me as they haven’t found their feet with their acting yet and it can make it awkward and uncomfortable to watch.  The young cast here however do a great job, an adorable group of outsiders, hell bent of creating a monster movie to enter into a film festival, there was a great mix of personalities and dynamics within the group.  They were all likeable and memorable in their own ways even in most of them were never really developed. 

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The plot follows your pretty basic UFO recovery type storyline, with suspicious military units and belittled local law enforcement, so that part was pretty generic, but that isn’t to say it wasn’t interesting or well done, because it was both of those things, it just wasn’t anything particularly new or different.

What this film did really well was the emotional story that ran alongside the sci-fi plot.  A story of broken families and grief and regret.  It was the heart of the story and I think it was done really well.  It served to give Joe and Alice a little character depth and growth, even if most of their friends were left feeling a little flat.

A good film for lovers of Sci-Fi with a more gradual pace and less pew-pew-pew, explosions and the like. 

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