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Review: Super 8

J.J Abram's Super 8 is being billed as a cross between The Goonies and E.T, with a splash of Cloverfield, although it didn't come close to any of these in my book and is perhaps one of 2011's most overrated (sharing the crown with Harry Potter and The Last Gasp of Breath From This Dying Series). Super 8 takes us to 1979, where a group of school friends witness a train crash, in which an alien being escapes. Soon electrical equipment, dogs and eventually people start missing from the town.

My main issue with Super 8 was the lazy rehashed story, that seems to have been gladly accepted because it's a 'homage' to a lot of Spielberg's earlier work. But when does homage stop and blatant plagiarism begin? The relationship and dynamic between the group of kids feels like it's been lifted straight from The Goonies, the sheriff feels like a watered down Chief Brody from Jaws and pretty much everything else is a mash-up of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, mashed up with Abram's Cloverfield. Spielberg's earlier films have a distinct heart and charm but Abram's can't deliver on that front.

The acting also failed to meet expectations. Most of the child characters are not particularly likeable from a the bullying fat kid to a hyper pyromaniac. The one saving grace amongst the children is Elle Fanning, who to be completely honest, is too good for this movie. As for the adults, Kyle Chandler fares slightly better, but is by no means as memorable and fun as his role in Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Super 8 does feature some incredibly impressive visual effects. Primarily, a strong train crash which is possibly the best scene in the film. Even towards the end of the film, where the plot's ridiculousness escalates, the FX remain consistently strong. This ending appears to have been 'inspired' by E.T. but in the context of this film, just feels ridiculous. I'm going to avoid spoilers, but to be honest anyone can see the route the film's going down.

As Bret Easton Ellis tweeted "The movie playing over the end credits of "Super 8" has more heart, scares, sweetness and narrative skill than the movie that preceded it..." and I could not say it better myself.



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