Saturday, September 23, 2023


June 10, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

In general, the reviews for the Steven Spielberg-produced, J.J. Abrams-directed Super 8 are glowing. If there’s a complaint at all, it’s that, given the film’s pedigree, it wasn’t even better. In short, they say, what you get is a little of Spielberg and a little of Abrams — but that might amount to too many master chefs in the kitchen. As Kenneth Turan concludes in the Los Angeles Times: “The problem with Super 8 is not how much there is to complain about but how little there is to be excited about. Given the abilities of those accomplished names on the poster, that has got to be a disappointment.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times suggests that Abrams is dutifully showing his admiration for Spielberg’s earlier sci-fi classics, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., without being able to call up their “visual and emotional poetry.” Nevertheless, he remarks, “‘not as good as E.T.‘ is not so bad. (‘Better than Thor or X-Men: First Class may be a more relevant judgment at this moment in the history of air conditioning.)” In the end, he observes, Super 8 gives us everything we want, except awe, amazement and a feeling of discovery.” Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe & Mail praises the performances of the young actors in the movie but describes the film itself as “Spielberg-lite.” He suggests that the final reveal of the extra-terrestrial will probably come as a disappointment to most audiences However, he concludes, “The rest of us, young and old, will be relatively content enjoying the small pockets of charm, tolerating vast expanses of the predictable and bearing witness to that lovely burst of movie magic. And to an even lovelier irony ­ it’s the child actors, heroic indeed, who rescue Super 8 from the blockbuster grip of its adult makers.” Most critics, however, accentuate the positive. “This new film isn’t perfect, and may not be a world-changer,” writes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, “but it’s certainly a world-pleaser.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that he was disappointed that the human stories and the sci-fi threat didn’t mesh. “All the same,” he continues “Super 8 is a wonderful film, nostalgia not for a time but for a style of filmmaking, when shell-shocked young audiences were told a story and not pounded over the head with aggressive action.” Several critics are praising the film wholeheartedly with no reticence at all. In USA Today, Claudia Puig concludes, “For those who grew up enchanted by E.T., Super 8 captures a similar sense of innocent exuberance and unabashed excitement.” And Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Abrams “understands the rules of the game he’s in, and the result is a sci-fi monster movie that keeps its sense of fun and humanity. It’s a valentine to a classically American genre — the B-movie — and a nostalgic look back on a more innocent time.”