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Super 8 SPOILERS

Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 7:08pm

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Staff Only

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(Definitely checked that this is new guys, and that it wasn't discussed in the Super Bowl trailer thread.)

So I saw that you were talking about the Transformers and Chrysler ads in the other thread, but why no interest in J.J. Abrams new film?

Super 8
eek

First off, I can spot the promised homages to E.T./Close Encounters era Spielberg alien films in the trailer. That is awesome. I won't go on yet another rant about making art as a craftsman/from a critics or audience members standpoint, instead of solely from the empty space that inspiration and wacky ideas come from *cough*JarJarBinks*coughsplutter*, but I know that some directors always deliver, critically, and in terms of Box Office. Abrams is one of them. Therefore I say as I said after seeing that trailer. Forget Thor, Harry Potter 7.5, Pirates 4, Hangover 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Transformers 3, Cars 2; J.J. Abrams is releasing a film this summer!

Anyone else psyched?

Last edited Sat, 11th Jun 2011, 7:48am; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 7:11pm

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DVStudio

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Yeah I saw the trailer for it over the summer like, 4 times at the movie theater and I can't wait for it. The ad last night was definately better than the ones I had seen previously, but can't wait man.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 7:54pm

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jawajohnny

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Rating: +1

Yeah, this looks fantastic. J.J. Abrams making a classic Spielberg 80's movie? Awesome. I'm definitely getting the Close Encounters/E.T. vibe from it.

While he obviously doesn't reveal any spoilers, J.J. Abrams talks a bit about the conception of the movie here.

Apart from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (which I think we all know is going to be epic), this is my most anticipated film of the summer... if not the year.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 9:30pm

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NuttyBanana

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I was actually disappointed with the direction the tv spot showed this film is heading.

The first teaser trailer gave me a dark, creepy, tense looking film with what looked to be a considerable threat about to escape from that cargo container.

The new spot changes that into a children's adventure film along the lines of E.T. or The Goonies. Now don't get me wrong, I love those films, well more Goonies than E.T. but I was looking much more to the film the initial teaser was suggesting than the Spielberg-esq film we're now leading towards.

That's just me though and I see that most are looking forward to it. Abrams hasn't really let me down yet so I'm expecting it to be a good film overall.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 9:47pm

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RodyPolis

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This trailer did nothing for me. It's JJ Abrams so at least I have some faith it'll be something good, but from the trailers that came out I couldn't care less for this.

That whole 'let's keep everything super secret and give links to websites so people can go look to get bits and pieces' marketing technique doesn't work on me.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 9:48pm

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Staff Only

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But Goonies and E.T. are classics, and who will care about Cloverfield in 10 years? It's a good thing he's working with Spielberg in a genre where he might make a classic or something that gives you that magic Spielberg feeling. Not some good, but standard monster-thriller (and don't worry: this will have monster-thriller elements, just without the boring "dark" Cloverfield feeling). And this is obviously waay more modern-blockbuster oriented than E.T. or Goonies ever were. Did you see the explosions? Flamethrowers? Army? Mass evacuation? Explosions? Crying? Screaming for your life?

It's going to be awesome. You need look no further than that it's written and directed by J.J. Abrams who's working with ILM and Giacchino as always. Cinema awesomeness will ensue.
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 10:22pm

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swintonmaximilian

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I also think that the initial trailer was much better. This looks interesting, but not nearly as much as the first one. However, I think that might be because the moods of each trailer are so different it's hard to get an idea of what this is going to be. looking forward to it though, in a passive way.

I'm surprised to hear you think those films are classics staff, the effects are definitely a bit shonky no? wink
Posted: Mon, 7th Feb 2011, 10:42pm

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Aculag

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I look forward to this more than possibly anything else this year. The initial teaser was great, but this new TV spot really makes it look like a Spielberg film, but with JJ Abrams lens flares, which I think is awesome.

It could go either way, but I won't say I'm not still excited for this just because a 30 second clip makes it look more adventure oriented. Still looks LEAGUES better than Transformers 3...
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 5:12am

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jawajohnny

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Rating: +1

In general, the whole "30-second-Superbowl-spot" doesn't do much for me. It's just not enough to sell a movie... especially when they're all edited with chaotic quick-cuts so you can't actually see anything important (until the Staff-Only-style frame-by-frame analysis... which I've also done razz). That said... this one was better than most. I love how legitimately old-school this looks and feels, compared to say, Captain America, which looks like it was filmed in 2010 and had a warm, cinematic film grading layer slapped on it (it looks good... but I'm just comparing it to the decidedly retro Super 8 ). But yeah, most of my favorite movies are 80's Spielberg... so I'm extremely excited for this one.
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 6:05am

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Evman

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It does look to at least be something "original" in the biggest sequel year ever. Although it does seem like its dangerously close to JJ Abrams just well... copying Spielberg/doing something else for him that I won't mention on this family friendly board. wink

That being said - Transformers 3 looks unf**cking believable. I realized today that I like 6/8ths of Michael Bay's films. That's a pretty damn good track record, if you ask me. I hated TF2, as most people did. But that spot in particular was incredibly impressive.

Last edited Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 8:42am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 8:37am

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Staff Only

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jawajohnny wrote:

I love how legitimately old-school this looks and feels, compared to say, Captain America, which looks like it was filmed in 2010 and had a warm, cinematic film grading layer slapped on it (it looks good... but I'm just comparing it to the decidedly retro Super 8 ).
Very good point! I noticed, but I couldn't put my finger on it. This looks exactly like what an 80s film would look like with 2011 VFX. That is really cool.

I think Abrams and Spielberg have a lot in common. They have the same "This is fun!" approach to directing principal photography (when a lot of directors talk about how hard and tedious it is), and they have the same love of good cinema-magic. Everyone is (was?) always looking for "The New Spielberg". I think it's Abrams (though I don't really believe in the "New [some succesful person]"-analogy people love). I thought it was Abrams after Star Trek, but this is the most litteral Torch-passing they could have had. And 2010-Abrams was definitely the man who should have written and directed The Prequels.

I wouldn't say he was, ehm, doing that thing to Spielberg you mentioned Evman. Because Abrams is the guy who deserves to make the homage to E.T. and Close Encounters, and because Spielberg himself is working on the project. Classic Spielberg mixed with J.J. Abrams intensity = very exciting.
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 12:04pm

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NuttyBanana

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Staff Only wrote:

But Goonies and E.T. are classics, and who will care about Cloverfield in 10 years? It's a good thing he's working with Spielberg in a genre where he might make a classic or something that gives you that magic Spielberg feeling. Not some good, but standard monster-thriller (and don't worry: this will have monster-thriller elements, just without the boring "dark" Cloverfield feeling). And this is obviously waay more modern-blockbuster oriented than E.T. or Goonies ever were. Did you see the explosions? Flamethrowers? Army? Mass evacuation? Explosions? Crying? Screaming for your life?
Abrams didn't do Cloverfield, I think he was just a producer or something like that, it was directed by Matt Reeves. And lets not skip Star Trek which is the film I think about with any mention of Abrams.

Also I really don't care for E.T. or myself consider it a classic. Goonies is a different story.

Let me put my feelings about Super 8 this way. Imagine you watch a teaser trailer for Lord of the Rings, then a few months down the line a TV spot comes up and it's more like a Narnia film. The dark gritty edge is gone and the film is suddenly lead by children. That's probably the best I can sum it up as.

No doubt it'll be a good film. Abrams is solid and with Spielberg, although a little hit and miss lately, should offer something fun to watch I'm sure.
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 2:16pm

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NuttyBanana wrote:

Abrams didn't do Cloverfield, I think he was just a producer or something like that, it was directed by Matt Reeves.
I know all that, of course! But none of you (people complaining about the tone of the film) did your homework, because Abrams has said since long before the first teaser that this was going to be E.T. and Close Encounters.


Arbitrary list removed


What I'm saying is that I don't under any circumstances want Abrams (or any other a-lister blockbuster director) wasting his time on something like Colverfield that would be bound to end up in "standard-good, but forgotten".

The difference is also that I can ask a girl in my class: "Have you seen Inception/The Social Network?" "Yes! Of course, they were great!" but not: "Have you seen Colverfield, The A-team?" "Umm, no." or "Yes.." (but she can't even remember the characters names).

People like Abrams should always be working on the film that will be talked about from summer til new year.

EDIT: I think I saved some of this with some editing. It really was a bad post.

Last edited Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 6:24pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 3:47pm

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Biblmac

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Although I think that Expendables was a little better than your average action film... That's not important.

I too was a tad disappointed after watching the initial trailer and the new one. I have not been following this film since it was announced, and decided that if a trailer came out I'd check it out, and somehow missed the first one, so I watched it first. I thought it looked awesome! It got me very excited and made the film look intense, this new trailer however, doesn't do that for me at all. I'm not a fan of E.T. or the Goonies, so maybe that's why, but it just seems like what once appeared to be intense and exciting has just become a feel good kids movie...

Staff Only, why isn't Taken (2008) on your list of awesome action films? wink
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 4:14pm

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Simon K Jones

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Staff Only wrote:

I was trying to make the point: when was the last time a monster-movie was the most talked about/most critically acclaimed-blockbuster/biggest movie of the summer? It was JAWS right?
Er, I think there've been a fair few since then. Jurassic Park being the most obvious one.


Your pseudo-scientific breakdown of 'good' and 'awesome' films doesn't really work - it's entirely subjective. I'd never put Transformers 1 or the Bourne Trilogy on the 'awesome' list, for example, and 'Transformers 2' wouldn't even get on the 'standard' list.

Cloverfield had epic word-of-mouth, almost as much as Dark Knight and probably more than those other films you mention. The difference is that people generally didn't seem to like it as much as Dark Knight, Wall-E, Slumdog etc - that's the only reason it isn't mentioned much these days.
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 4:59pm

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Tarn wrote:

Er, I think there've been a fair few since then. Jurassic Park being the most obvious one.
Right! Had that coming. I think I'll just leave my post up for interpretation after Tarn's response. It wasn't a well put together post, but the meaning was just that the Super 8 teaser didn't hit me as anything close to "biggest summer movie". A mysterious alien is set free on unsuspecting people? That is Cloverfield. Where did the Cloverfield fans come from anyway? If that teaser was Super 8 people would just say: "Why is J.J. Abrams always making the same film?".

In any case I can see an 80s-Spielberg homage to have much more potential. And the subtly brilliant look of the peroid film that jawajohnny pointed out, will really help make the film feel "fresh" to people who haven't seen E.T (they exist).

Last edited Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 6:30pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 6:01pm

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Atom

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Staff Only wrote:



Standard heist films:
Oceans films, The Inside Man

Awesome heist film:
Inception
Yeeeah, I'd consider the George Clooney/Brad Pitt Ocean's Eleven to be a rather excellent heist film. Way above average. Your compass for description if, once again, more funny and baffling than anything else.
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 6:19pm

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Yep, noted. I'm not doing well at this forum thing. Think I'll lurk moar for a few weeks again.

EDIT: I tried to fix my post, once again, in accordance with criticism by Tarn and Atom. My strange posts are always written when I should be studying. I call it the procrastination effect. I'll get back to studying for my geometry-test tomorrow. wink
Posted: Tue, 8th Feb 2011, 7:36pm

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miker

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I'll have to agree that I was definitely more captivated by the first trailer, although I really like the direction they took in the 2nd, which also gripped my attention - just in a different way than the first one did. Personal taste I guess. It's interesting they've decided to market Super 8 this way - with 2 completely different stylized trailers. To keep us guessing perhaps? I'm sure they know what they're doing. I think it's best not to get too head-over-heels until we see a full length trailer though wink.
Posted: Wed, 9th Feb 2011, 12:27am

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NuttyBanana

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Staff Only wrote:

[A mysterious alien is set free on unsuspecting people? That is Cloverfield. Where did the Cloverfield fans come from anyway? If that teaser was Super 8 people would just say: "Why is J.J. Abrams always making the same film?".
Without reading through the topic again I have no idea where your fetish for Cloverfield cropped up from lol. On that subject though there was slight speculation of this being a sequel or related to Cloverfield but those ideas were denied shortly after.

There's nothing wrong with him doing another monster based movie in the same tone though. How many films included aliens has Spielberg done without being labelled?

They probably went this way with the new trailer to avoid more Cloverfield relating though following the reaction from the first teaser.
Posted: Fri, 11th Mar 2011, 6:25pm

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jawajohnny

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Full trailer:

http://www.twitvid.com/T6FFB

I'm going to say it now: Movie. of. the. Year.
Posted: Fri, 11th Mar 2011, 9:27pm

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Aculag

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Oh my god that looks good. Like, ET/Close Encounters good. Anxiously awaiting this one.
Posted: Fri, 11th Mar 2011, 10:54pm

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miker

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Looks great. Has a bit of a Goonies vibe as well. Can't wait.
Posted: Fri, 11th Mar 2011, 11:06pm

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Staff Only

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Yep! Just forget everything else that's coming out this year put together. This will be enough. I'm serious.
Posted: Sat, 12th Mar 2011, 12:14am

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jawajohnny

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Staff Only wrote:

Yep! Just forget everything else that's coming out this year put together. This will be enough. I'm serious.
I wouldn't count out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. Seeing as the first seven films (in my opinion) range from "very good" at their worst (Goblet of Fire) to "near-perfect masterpiece" at their best (Half-Blood Prince), I have no doubt that Part II will be an epic conclusion worthy of awards contention (more so for the cumulative achievement of the series - "Return of the King"-style).

Other than that, there really aren't any films this year that I'm genuinely excited for. Sure, I'm looking forward to the superhero movies (Super, Captain America, Thor), the blockbuster sequels (Pirates, Transformers, Mission Impossible), and the "potentially good but could just as easily be awful" original sci-fi flicks (Apollo 18, Cowboys/Aliens, Source Code, Now)... but nothing really jumps off the page as being more than mildly intriguing.
Posted: Sat, 12th Mar 2011, 1:08am

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RodyPolis

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Saw this trailer this morning. Looks pretty good I'll see it. Though I am nowhere near looking forward to this as much as TF3, Mission Impossible, Hangover 2 ect.
Posted: Mon, 14th Mar 2011, 9:33am

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Simon K Jones

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Looks fascinating! I like the 80s setting (although I'm surprised to see some of you young'uns digging it so much) - I rather wish that Transformers had done the same.
Posted: Mon, 14th Mar 2011, 2:25pm

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Trailer in HD biggrin biggrin biggrin

Tarn wrote:

I like the 80s setting (although I'm surprised to see some of you young'uns digging it so much)
Oh I love films set in different times if they take the time and money to do it right. To me it just adds production value that they had to go to a lot of trouble in every location, every costume, even how people talk (I loved how Jeff Bridges actually sounded like he'd been stuck in a computer since the 80s in Tron: Legacy, he said stuff like "Man", and "Let's split."). My favorite film set in another time? King Kong 2005 of course. Those guys built Manhattan! Not only that, they spent more time building the CGI model for Empire State than the real Empire State took to build. Just mindblowingly awesome.
Posted: Mon, 14th Mar 2011, 4:37pm

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jawajohnny

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Tarn wrote:

Looks fascinating! I like the 80s setting (although I'm surprised to see some of you young'uns digging it so much)
Heh. I grew up watching 80s Spielberg. Close Encounters and E.T. are among my absolute favorite movies. In fact, almost all of my favorite movies were either set in... or at least made in the 80s. I dunno... they have a certain magical quality that no one (including Spielberg himself) has come close to matching in the past two decades. Abrams is clearly trying to recreate that effect... and based on this trailer alone, he's succeeded. I can't be more excited.
Posted: Tue, 15th Mar 2011, 1:37am

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Azulon'sAssassin

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Did you REALLY just say to FORGET Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean? WHAT THE HECK?! Now I'm mad! Ok not mad, just disturbed...
Posted: Wed, 20th Apr 2011, 11:10am

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Simon K Jones

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In case anybody wasn't aware, Portal 2 has a special Super 8 bonus level which appears to be a playable version of the train crash from the trailer.

It's very short and you don't really do anything other than wander about, but it's actually rather cool. Never seen a promotion quite like it.
Posted: Fri, 3rd Jun 2011, 1:01pm

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http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3829964057/

Yeah, this has the fluidity and tension of a J.J. Abrams action scene! biggrin After X-men was so brilliant though it will be hard for Super 8 to live up to that. This is the only other film I was really anticipating this summer. Transformers and Harry Potter were always going to be blown out of the water by X-men and Super 8.

And the interactive trailer in the PC version for Portal 2 was cool. wink
Posted: Sat, 11th Jun 2011, 2:30am

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jawajohnny

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Time for an incoherent, blatantly fanboyish jawajohnny rant. Read at your own risk. razz

They don't make them like this any more. Super 8 is a wonderfully nostalgic film, delivering exactly what the vintage-Spielberg fan in me craves. Too often these days, movies put more focus on the "spectacle", leaving the story and characters to rot away in the background. But certainly not here. Without a doubt, it's the characters (and not the creature) that are the primary focus of Super 8. In fact, upon first glance, the "creature" storyline might feel a bit underwhelming. It really isn't though, if you think about how the military/government conspiracy angles are used in films like E.T. and Close Encounters. I won't argue that the "creature" itself could have made for a fantastic film... but you know what? We've been down that route before.

We've seen plenty of creature-features recently (including the other Abrams project, Cloverfield), but none have come close to being truly satisfying. Right from the beginning, Super 8 establishes a "Goonies + E.T. + Close Encounters" vibe. Really, we haven't seen child characters that are this likeable since then. By the time the "train station" scene takes place early on the the film, we're already given plenty of reason to relate to these characters. Every line of dialogue, every bit of bickering back and forth feels like it's been ripped straight out of any of the aforementioned films.

After the kids regroup from the train crash, they begin to suspect that it was no accident. Continuing to film their movie-within-a-movie, they slowly begin to unravel the "mystery", while evading the ever-increasing military presence. Again, it's a story that could have focused on the military and creature storyline, but it doesn't. We get all this from the point-of-view of either the kids. Even when the "action" of the third act kicks in, it's all told from the kids' points of view. Abrams resists the urge to give us a full-frame lingering look at the creature causing massive destruction, instead choosing to never lift his gaze off the kids. Like Jaws and Jurassic Park, it just feels more intense and generally scary that way. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

I've seen some criticism that says that the character story and the creature story don't "mesh" well together to form a cohesive narrative. My response to that is, "Are you freaking kidding me?". This is not Inception, folks. It's not a script where we're forced to sit through the movie and piece it all together. It's a simple, yet perfectly painted story of kids and their relationships, set against the backdrop of mysterious and extraordinary happenings. In the closing moments, everything comes together in the most touching way possible. I don't want to spoil it any more than that. smile

As you'd expect, Super 8 is a technical masterpiece. From the cinematography, to the production design, to the musical cues, Super 8 would absolutely one-hundred-percent pass for a 70's or 80's film. Abrams has succeeded in fully capturing the "early-Spielberg" magic that even Spielberg himself no longer possesses. At the same time, he also injects his own personal flavor into it. I'm not just talking about the lens flares, though they are all over the place. I'm talking about the emotionally resonant characters infused with the trademark Abram's "mystery box" story. The acting is lights-out (No Kyle Chandler pun intended). The "unknown" kids give surprisingly great performances... they're all awesome finds. And then there's Elle Fanning. Holy crap, can she act... or can she act? She steals every scene she's in. There's no way in heck she's only 13 years old.

So yeah... that's it for now. I'll give it an easy 10/10. Does it beat X-Men: First Class? I'm not sure. They're two entirely different movies.

I won't go into more detail until more of you guys have seen it. I also need to go see it again... because the idiots at my theater didn't turn the surround speakers on. That's the second time it's happened to me in that same specific theater (the first being Half-Blood Prince). Three people went out to tell the theater employees... and they said they'd fix it... but all they did was turn up the volume for the front speakers. It really pissed me off, having to watch the train crash without any kind of surround sound. It didn't feel right, at all.
Posted: Sat, 11th Jun 2011, 7:17am

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Atom

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Definitely agree with most of your points, though I think the film suffers slightly from overblown hype and a 'mystery' that, when unveiled, isn't all that satisfying. Don't get me wrong, as a whole- the film really is fantastic. It's wondrous and magical and nostalgic in all the ways it needs to be- and wholly entertaining and fulfilling in all aspects of filmmaking.

But there's something that felt a little missing, for my tastes. Maybe just not deep enough of a 'mystique', if that makes sense. Still an astounding film, however, and by far one of the best of the year. I'll have more to write on this soon.
Posted: Sat, 11th Jun 2011, 7:48am

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Staff Only

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Okey, I didn't really read your posts since I want to go in fresh, but I just wanted to say that I'm going to have to wait until 29 July to see this. surprised (First time in many years Norway is that far behind.)

I'll spoiler-tag the thread, and then stay out. This is going to be hard.
Posted: Sat, 11th Jun 2011, 9:35am

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Atom

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Rating: +1

Don't worry, Staff- no spoilers thus far. Check out both of our posts if you like to gauge reactions.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jun 2011, 1:29am

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Aculag

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Atom wrote:

But there's something that felt a little missing, for my tastes. Maybe just not deep enough of a 'mystique', if that makes sense.
I saw this today, and I think I have an idea about why some people think it's missing some "magic" or some such. Bear with me for a sec...

Super 8 has all of the elements that make for a classic, timeless adventure film like ET, Goonies, Close Encounters, etc. The only thing that's lacking is the time it takes for a film to become a classic. I personally think that this film will stand the test of time. It has the heart, it has the humor, it has the humanity, it has the adventure. The only thing missing is the fact that we didn't grow up hearing about it. Right now, we may see Super 8 as just a modern action/adventure, and not a classic. Those films from the 80s have a completely different look to them, for obvious reasons, and we associate that look and feel with classic films. We don't really do that with modern cinema, except in certain cases. I think kids 20 or 30 years from now will watch this movie and they'll be as captivated by it as our generation was by the films I mentioned earlier. That's my theory anyway. It's also possible that kids in 20 years will be total assholes and not want anything to do with good quality fun like Super 8. wink

Anyway, I've just been thinking about that since leaving the theater, and wanted to ramble a bit. I really loved it, can't remember seeing anything like it for a long time. It's just a fantastic film, and it's one that I think will age extremely well, and if it isn't already considered a classic sci-fi adventure, it will be. It's funny, scary, emotional, and just plain enjoyable. I can't imagine anyone but the staunchest of cynics leaving that film without a smile. I definitely believe that someday people will consider it as highly as the classic Spielbergs. It's that good. Abrams is awesome.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jun 2011, 4:14am

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jawajohnny

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Yeah, I think that's a fair assessment, Aculag. I think I'm a bit more pessimistic though, because based on what I know about my generation, I think they're going to overlook Super 8 while praising Transformers and Twilight to high heaven. They've been spoon-fed to crave those specific tastes... and therefore might not quite "get" the appeal of "older" and more (staying with the food metaphor) "exquisite" films. Unless Super 8 gets some good word-of-mouth, then it simply won't reach enough people. Films like The Dark Knight, Avatar, and The Hangover are the kind of "modern" films that will be remembered as classics. Gritty superheroes, special effects, and well... alcohol-inspired comedies.

Now... to add to that a bit... I'll try to address Atom's disappointment a bit more specifically. The "mystery" behind a "hyped" film like this is never going to live up to your expectations. It's not anything you can control, either. Before the release, you get an idea in your head, and when you then actually see it, you're naturally disappointed that it didn't meet your expectations. I think that's why a lot of people don't like the Harry Potter films. When they deviate from your own perception of the book... then you're naturally inclined to not like said deviation. But that's slightly off-topic. So back to Super 8... what did you know before seeing it? Not much more than: "Kids with 'family issues' encounter some sort of mysterious creature". Here's the thing: I think a lot of people sort of over-speculated about the "mystery" of the film, and were then disappointed that said mystery wasn't explored as thoroughly as it could have been. I think people were expecting a bit more of Abrams' "mystery box" storytelling technique seen on TV shows like "Lost", or the even better, "Fringe". The simple difference is that on TV, there's plenty of time to develop all the mythos and backstory. That wouldn't work in a film like Super 8. In a one-off, roughly two-hour film, there's only so much of that backstory and mythos you can squeeze in. Do we know exactly who E.T. is, or where he came from? Or the aliens from Close Encounters? Looking back, those films aren't "about" the "mystery", per say. They're first and foremost about the characters. Personally, I think it's more satisfying that way. More, "magical" and less "scientific" if you will. Does that make sense?

All that said, "Super 8" doesn't touch "E.T." in any way. I would, however, argue that it is superior to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". It might be a generational thing, but I can relate a lot more to the characters in Super 8 than I can to the ones in Close Encounters. In Close Encounters, it's just a guy who is mysteriously drawn to an extraordinary event. But there's no depth... no reason for me to care about him at all (my dad thinks otherwise, though). In Super 8, Abram's takes time to develop each kid, and give me reason to care what happens to them. Don't get me wrong, Close Encounters is undeniably a classic masterpiece... but I do think Super 8 packs a bit more of an emotional punch. Of course the final scene doesn't live up to the pure awesomeness of E.T., but it does hit all the right notes. Very Spielberg-ian... and very worthy of becoming a classic. Like I said earlier, we simply don't see movies like this anymore. Super 8 is really a class ahead of most "summer blockbusters" out there these days.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jun 2011, 5:27pm

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Limey

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I liked all of the scenes with the kids making their movie, but was disappointed with the rest. The alien monster thing was hard for me to get into, and a lot of the character relations which are talked about so highly were left unaddressed at the end. I almost laughed with the thing launching away at the end. Overall, not bad, it just didn't knock me out or anything.

I loved the kids 8mm movie playing at the end through the credits though.
Posted: Wed, 15th Jun 2011, 6:51am

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Pooky

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Rating: +1

Aculag - I dunno, I felt that even ignoring the whole time argument, the answer to the mystery was kind of unsatisfactory. I mean, the answer is "it's an alien that's angry and wants to go home." I mean, come on, that's it? Plus, there's no real conclusion - stuff blows up, the army shoots everything, the kid saves the girl and talks the monster down from killing him, and then the monster just spawns a ship and leaves. I could've predicted that without even seeing the movie!

I dunno, while I did enjoy it and while it was very well crafted, I felt it lacked any real originality.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 10:16am

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videofxuniverse

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just watched and thought it was quite a disapointment. very boring for most of the time and i guess i expected more especially from jj abrams.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 2:03pm

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Aculag

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Pooky - The film is an homage at its core, so of course it isn't a totally original story. How many films can you say have a completely unique plot? Very few, and certainly not the films that Super 8 nods to. It's a film that says "Hey, remember when movies were like THIS? Well, here's one like that, only with a CG monster and some streaky annoying lens flares that everyone loves for some reason!"

You say it has no conclusion, but how do you reckon? The kid physically (lol) lets go of the memory of his dead mother, the alien escapes, and the kids finish the film (as we see in the ending credits.) I don't know how much more of a conclusion you could ask for, when those three things are what the film is about. Did you want to see the alien at home with his family, being like "Dude, NEVER go to Earth, man..."? wink

I think what makes it stand out to me, especially in a summer so filled with dreck so far, is that it isn't a sequel, it isn't a superhero film, it doesn't feature big name actors, and it's more about the characters and the symbolism (whether it's hamfisted or not) than it is about the spectacle. That's probably part of the problem. People hyped it up to be about the spectacle and the mystery (rightfully so, I suppose, since that's what the marketing was all about. But if you trust advertising, I've got another rant for you somewhere else. wink) and they got a story about kids making a film that gets interrupted by an alien trying to escape. It's the same reason people were upset with the ending of Lost; too much emphasis on character, not enough of a satisfying resolution to the mystery that marketing built up into something it wasn't. To me, that's a silly reason to be disappointed in a film, especially one by someone who clearly cares so much about storytelling (and horizontal lens flares.)

I try not to get caught up in hype, so I don't see it suffering from too much hype. For what it is, it's extremely enjoyable unless you were expecting something that it was never going to be, which it seems a lot of people were. Go figure.

Love,
Aculag (AKA The New Staff Only)

Ps. For those of you who were disappointed in the mystery reveal: What would you have done instead?
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 2:25pm

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Atom

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Aculag wrote:

Love,
Aculag (AKA The New Staff Only)
I lol'ed.


Ps. For those of you who were disappointed in the mystery reveal: What would you have done instead?
I think that's the whole thing- it's a disappointment because it's something. While there's a guise of darkness around the plot, ultimately we end up knowing everything about everything and the motives of everyone. The shroud of mystery is removed, and the veil of uncertainty and mystique- which drives stuff like Lost, or the promotional materials for Super 8- withers away once you've made that reveal.

Could I have thought of something better? That doesn't matter. The thing is, that when- whatever the creature or plot may be- is revealed, it's revealed too much, and there's no wonderment or curiosity left.

'The alien wants to go home and he's actually nice and these cubes make his spacecraft, which he coincidentally wants to fix and has been trying to.' Don't get me wrong, I loved the movie. But I definitely see the points made here, and mostly agree with them.

The boy's mother's death was the most mysterious and well-handled device of the whole film because it was done with such subtlety and grace. Not just technically, but narratively.

In the case of the monster/alien- had they not explained exactly through science-teacher-plot-exposition that the alien is actually good and that the cubes make his spacecraft- I still probably could have figured those things out, and the restraint in explaining them would've left a more meaty sense of intrigue and mystery in the final frames.

Aside from it being (now being able to say this weeks afterward) entirely forgettable of a movie, Super 8 really was very close to a masterpiece. But that doesn't mean it doesn't fail as a 'mystery box' movie. It does. Not badly, but it does nonetheless.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 3:47pm

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Aculag

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Atom wrote:

I think that's the whole thing- it's a disappointment because it's something. While there's a guise of darkness around the plot, ultimately we end up knowing everything about everything and the motives of everyone. The shroud of mystery is removed, and the veil of uncertainty and mystique- which drives stuff like Lost, or the promotional materials for Super 8- withers away once you've made that reveal.
Precisely. Which is why getting caught up in the marketing hype for anything is a bad idea, and why a "mystery" is always going to be a huge risk in any form of media. No matter what the final answer is, it's always going to disappoint someone. As with Lost, there can be no satisfactory answer to something like that, but it doesn't matter, because that isn't really what the movie is about. The answer to the question "What would you have done?" should be, "Not shown the monster at all" which I think is what Abrams would have done if this was a mystery movie. Like you said, the really well done mystery of the film is how the mother died, and if you ask me, that's the more important element of the film.

Atom wrote:

In the case of the monster/alien- had they not explained exactly through science-teacher-plot-exposition that the alien is actually good and that the cubes make his spacecraft- I still probably could have figured those things out, and the restraint in explaining them would've left a more meaty sense of intrigue and mystery in the final frames.
I definitely agree with that, but the b-movie explanation for the monster's existence is part of the nostalgic kitsch-factor of the movie. As much as the film parrots a Spielberg film, it's also nodding to things like The Blob, and Night of the Living Dead, 50s schlock-fests that give batshit insane "scientific" "explanations" for things that drive the plot. Again, Super 8 is one long homage when you get down to it.

Atom wrote:

But that doesn't mean it doesn't fail as a 'mystery box' movie. It does. Not badly, but it does nonetheless.
Totally. I see where you're coming from, and I agree with the sentiment. But I think the only thing that made it a "mystery box movie" is the fact that the marketing presented it that way, and coincidentally, JJ Abrams was doing interviews about his mystery box thing at the same time, and keeping wraps on the details of the film. It isn't a mystery movie. It's an action/adventure movie, straight up. If you hadn't watched any of the teasers of trailers, and knew nothing about it going in, I reckon your position would be at least a little different.

Look at The Goonies. That's a story about some kids trying to save their housing development from being destroyed. But marketing could easily twist it to be a "mystery box movie" by making it seem like the real focus of the film is One-Eyed Willy and his buried treasure, and then audiences would be disappointed that it turns out just to be some pirate nonsense. The point of that film is the friendship between the kids, and the adventures they get into while trying to save their homes, it's not about the mystery. Super 8 is the same thing. It's about friendship, and family. The alien is a plot device; a MacGuffin. But it isn't central to the plot, no matter what the marketing department wants people to think. The fact that one kid likes the girl and the other kid gets the girl is far more important to Super 8 than the alien is. At least in my opinion. The monster could have been a giant St. Bernard that was created in a lab, who's just trying to find a giant bone to chew on, and it would have the same relevance to the plot that the alien did. Which is to say, it is unimportant overall.

I'm probably repeating myself, but I think you get the idea. smile
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 7:28pm

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Pooky

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Well the thing with the conclusion to me wasn't so much that it closed off all the plot lines, it's that it was so anticlimactic and so short. The final confrontation with the alien is uninteresting and predictable (and lacks any depth or impact because you just learned about the damn thing), the ship lifting off happens too suddenly (from no ship to ship in space within 5 minutes), and the teacher video explains everything too directly and with no subtlety. The whole movie was building up to something cool, but then suddenly it breaks pacing and decides to close everything off too quickly and too blandly.

And I get that it's an homage, I really do, but in this case, had they left some mystery in and made the ending bigger or more surprising somehow, I still think it would've resulted in a better movie. You know what made those movies it paid homage to so great? Doing something new.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 8:16pm

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Aculag

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Well yes, that's all true. I won't argue that it could have been a better film.

Wouldn't you say it's rather difficult for filmmakers to truly do something new these days? Especially with an archetypal homage film, you kinda have to stick to standards. Not many films break new ground anymore.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 8:35pm

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Pooky

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Well, yeah it's certainly harder than before, but I do think there still is the "easy route" and the "hard route". Sure, maybe most story elements have been done before, but the actual combinations of said elements haven't all been done. The fact that I could predict exactly what was going to happen in Super 8 before even seeing it says a lot to me.

Plus, even in keeping the same plot and structure, I still think the ending could've been handled better with more footage, better editing, more interesting locales, etc. I mean, you see almost nothing of the underground lair, and only 4-5 of the victims. What's up with that?
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 9:06pm

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Aculag

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No doubt. It could have been a completely different film, even with all the same plot elements and structure. It could have been a total downer, or a shocking and terrifying gore fest, or a hilarious stoner comedy with an alien voiced by Jonah Hill or some sh*t.

But I think it achieved what it set out to achieve. Despite the fact that it was predictable, slightly cheesy, slightly campy, and doesn't bend our minds by doing something totally out of left field, it is still an entertaining film, and that's what it was designed to be. It's not life-altering, it's not a "game-changer", it's not the height of cinema, but it's a solid, entertaining movie.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jun 2011, 9:15pm

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Pooky

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Agreed, that's pretty much the point I was trying to make: it's nothing to write home about save for the fact that we haven't seen this type of film in a while. smile Still, hopefully it'll inspire some other people.
Posted: Sat, 30th Jul 2011, 10:25pm

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Staff Only

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I agree with everything that's been said in this thread. You all hit the nail on the head.

That said I was (apart from also being a bit disappointed with how brief and predictable the end was) actually probably more happy with this film because my last theater-film is etched in my brain as "I can't believe such bland and mediocre filmmaking was the final Harry Potter-film" that seeing a film superbly made, by a superb director felt like such a blessing. (Funny that Azulon asked me scornfully in this thread if I said "Forget Harry and Pirates." Well I wish I could forget them now. Well..Pirates was actually fine.)

However my biggest problem with this film was not the lack of pay-off, but that the boy did nothing in the monster-plot. Why didn't the alien spare Joe earlier in the film and gain their (and more importantly our) sympathy, and his friends realize at some point that the alien would get killed if they didn't help him get hold of the cubes (which would lead to the third act being about saving the alien, not the girl). It's what I thought would happen in the third act. It's still predictable, but more satisfying. Because the biggest "YAY!"-moment of the film was when the alien took off. But we didn't care that much about the alien, and the alien did all the work by itself (except for the crash). We should have been watching the alien in a heist/siege-movie where the army was closing in, and the alien had to use all it's cunning to get home to it's children. Would have been more satisfying than a climax that had nothing to do with the main character (except letting go of the mother which I appreciated).

I still understand that to Abrams the ending was that the father, the boy, the girl and her father were finally free of the mothers death and could go on as happy people. But then I wish it would have been made clearer exactly how the plot of the movie directly affected them. (For all we know the dads could have been forced to have a little "talk" at any point in the future. It didn't exactly take much for them to forgive each-other). I know the circumstances helped their relationship, but at what cost (several people dead, with the movie already proving how much one death affects people negatively, and a town in ruins)? I guess I'm just so used to Hollywood endings were the ending has to be indisputably of a higher standard status quo than the begging. Like to me the most important part of Back to the Future is that George hits Biff and the entire plot of the movie changes their lives for the better forever. If Marty had made it back to his girlfriend, but nothing had changed because of his time in the past; it would have taken the film from 10/10 to 6/10 for me.

Dunno if I'm right to demand that the ending proves to me how the events of the film changed the world of the film for the better. In Super 8 they were better off, without a doubt, but it had little to with the monster itself. And the monster couldn't care less who the main characters were. Somehow that felt strange to me.