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Nonstop review: ‘Super 8′

Great special effects, classic Spielberg touches and a believable heart

Posted June 10, 2011 by Nonstop Honolulu

By Myong Choi
Special to Nonstop

It’s so refreshing when Hollywood takes a chance and throws a ridiculously insane budget at a movie that’s not a toy franchise, a comic book franchise or a sequel. Last year “Inception” proved that an original idea could work. This year that movie is “Super 8.”

Of course, a film directed by J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible III,” TV’s “Lost”) and produced by Steven Spielberg can’t really be called a gamble, but still, I love it when I can watch a movie and truly not know what to expect.

“Super 8” opens with a group of young boys filming an amateur zombie film in 1979 when a train derails in the background of their scene. While retrieving their footage they realize that the train was carrying mysterious cargo, verified when the U.S. Air Force shows up and takes over. Strange events start occurring around town and people go missing, including their friend Alice. The Air Force evacuates all the residents, but the boys set out to return to figure out what’s happening and get their friend back.

While the movie does feature great special effects and action scenes (the train crash is spectacular), what I really loved is that at its core, it’s about a group of young friends who are just hanging out and working together on something they all love, while constantly insulting each other. This is what kids that age do. Alice (Elle Fanning) is especially appealing because she plays that one cute girl they all have a crush on, who’s even more attractive because she shares their same geeky hobby. The romance between her and Joe (Joel Courtney) is very sweet and believable. I would pay to watch another movie about this group of friends even without the special effects and thrills, I enjoyed their friendship and dialogue that much.

It does seem almost as if Abrams set out to make this film a tribute to Spielberg. There are similarities to “The Goonies,” “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park,” all films Spielberg either directed or produced: the classic elements of family, wonder, discovery and thrills. So even though “Super 8” may fall just a bit short of achieving the magic of those memorable films, it is thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it. I also hope this movie is successful and paves the way for more original films in the future.

By the way, make sure to stay through the credits to watch the final product of the boys’ zombie film. It’s a riot!


  1. WillL
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Nice concise review Myong. Heartsy movie. Another movie this reminded of was Stand By Me. As I child growing up in that era, I also related to all wthe cultural and musical references. The Titan theater I was at was only like a quarter full for the 10:30 pm show. I hope this gains more momentum like The King’s Speech did as it started to receive accolades.

  2. MyongChoi
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    @WillL Thanks WillL! Yeah, Stand By Me was another film that it reminded me of as well. I really enjoyed this film a lot.

  3. Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Saw this trailer a while back and knew I had to see it. Mahalo for the review, Myong! Will give you my thoughts once I see it. :)

  4. MyongChoi
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    @johngarcia Yup John, a must see. My favorite film of the summer so far.

  5. CodyZamboni
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    This was a solid, entertaining movie, most of the way, but I felt somewhat underwhelmed by the climax. Felt the movie lost all its’ punch and went soft. Too much of an abrupt shift in tone. Still a great movie experience, with a star making performance by Elle Fanning. She was my favorite character. Best scene : the kid’s zombie epic ” The Case” seen in all its’ glory. Funny as hell.

  6. JerrySu
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Myong, thanks for the thorough and insightful review, i will definitely check out the movie soon!

  7. MyongChoi
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

    @CodyZamboni agree that Elle Fanning stole the show. I almost walked out of the theatre before “The Case” started. So glad I stayed!

  8. MyongChoi
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 8:33 am

    @JerrySu thanks JerrySu! Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. whatthehonk
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Great review Myong! I really enjoyed the show… made me wish I was a kid again!!! The adventure, the unknown, the puppy love, the fear, the fun! Reminded me of being a boy with my friends… good times. I also learned it was called “Super 8″ because the little movie the kids made, was filmed on the old Super 8 mm film from back in the day… that was before my time of course, hahaha, but I had know idea until a friend enlightened me. Looking forward to the next review!

  10. MyongChoi
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:06 am

    @whatthehonk Thanks whatthehonk! Love your ID name btw.

  11. JerrySu
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Nice review Myong, I watched the movie today, I enjoyed this movie more than the transformers, by the way, i missed out the credit zombie movie …

  12. MyongChoi
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 12:22 am

    @JerrySu aw man, you missed out on one of the best parts!


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