Published: June 15, 2011
Directed by J.J. Abrams
This is a fun summer-blockbuster kind of movie set in the late 1970s/early ‘80s, and it looks and behaves like a Steven Spielberg movie with kids and army guys and suspense and a scary monster and parents who just don’t understand. But it was directed by J.J. Abrams, who made Lost on television (especially the final episode) and did the latest Star Trek movie, which had this special visual effect known as “lens flare,” where the light seems to hit the screen and spread out and go in lines and teeny little starbursts and circles and stuff. And the only way you would not know that Super 8 was a recently unearthed Steven Spielberg movie from 1979 is because there’s all this goddamn lens flare going on across the screen, these blue streaks and blue blips, and it’s kind of annoying, almost as if they made a mistake with the camera and the film—do they even use film to make movies anymore?—got ruined a little, but it’s not enough to make you not want to watch the movie. But seriously, it’s like J.J. Abrams was thinking, I have created a masterpiece! The perfect copy of a Steven Spielberg movie no one has ever seen! If I don’t put some sort of identifying mark on it, no one will believe this movie was made by me! They will all think Steven Spielberg worked me like a puppet to make this Steven Spielberg movie! I NEED MORE LENS FLARES IN THE MANNER OF J.J. ABRAMS!
But it’s a good movie, really. It has great acting by children and teenagers (or actors pretending to be children and teenagers), and they exist in their little youth subculture doing all kinds of stuff the adults don’t know about or don’t understand, such as make movies with film cameras and yeah, movie-title film, you got it. The adults in this movie are OK, even the generic sorta G.I. Joe-looking dad, but the loser dad of course is more entertaining, plus he kinda looks like a fat Denis Leary, if Denis Leary could act better and not constantly be aware that he is Denis Leary. Anyway, nerds of science fiction movies will enjoy this because there are moments right out of some alien-monster movie you can’t remember the name of where the army guys are slugging it out with the creature and we walk right through those with the kids, who are really running this show, and there are a coupla creepy/violent flashes, so if your wee one has never played a shooter video game, you might want to think twice. But they really fastball that stuff so you’re probably OK. And there’s great movie-within-a-movie stuff, so don’t get up when J.J. Abrams (seriously, is it some kind of compulsion?) pisses his last blue swath of lens flare across the screen, marking it forever.
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