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June 17th, 2011

Movie Review - Super 8

Super 8


Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel McKinnon Miller, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Jessica Tuck, Ron Eldard, Glynn Turman, Noah Emmerich, Bruce Greenwood, and more.


Directed by: JJ Abrams Written by: JJ Abrams Original Music by: Michael Giacchino


Premise: A group of kids, out at night trying to film a zombie movie for a contest, witness a train crash and catch some of it on film. Then strange things begin happening around town.


Review: From the first time I saw a preview, the movie screamed ET remake. But a more serious, grittier, uglier ET remake. And it was, which was fine by me.


Special effects, as with all Spieldberg productions, were superb. What was interesting, however, was the filming style. They went back and used a look from the old days - don't know if it was old equipment or just new equipment that can do old style or what, but I noticed it right away. It was almost as if on several levels, the film was full of in-jokes for filmmakers, taking them back to their roots. You'll notice these extended light bands on the screen on night scenes, which were prevalent during Spieldberg's super hey day films like ET and Close Encounters of the Third kind. So JJ dod some homage to him, but also to himself and others and all their efforts back when they first got started making movies in 8mm and creating the cheapest types of films you could get away with, like horror/zombie films. (Bruce Campbell's book If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor goes into a lot of the youthful movie making attempts by him, Sam Raimi, and Robert Tapert, and I could see the same energy/need/excitement with the kids in the film. Quite fun!)


There are several subplots thrown into the mix of the main mystery, which eventually cross as matters unfold and the characters grow. Several of these subplots aren't spoken of directly, but are well shown for us to pick up, rather than be told. And not everything is exactly as it might appear either.


The kids were great! Joel Courtney was excellent as Joe Lamb.  Elle Fanning thrilling as Alice, making it especially fun when out of the filming group, Alice is actually the only one who can act. Riley Griffiths and Ryan Lee are great comic relief foils. Felt sorry for Gabriel Baso as not only did he have to wear the dorkiest pair of glasses on the planet, but has to prove his skills in barfing, not once but twice! Heh heh.


Unlike the original ET, the extra terrestrial in Super 8 is mostly sensed and not seen or even directly involved with most of the action. The only shortcoming, in my opinion, was that a skill given to the escapee and a pivotal reason matters unfolded as they did in the first place, would have made a few choices it made later rather hard to believe, but then again I wasn't the one kept by the government. Our original ET might not have been so sweet and just wanting to phone home if he'd had the same treatment as this extra terrestrial.


The films starts slow as it weaves daily life for us and then picks up lots of speed. The main baddy, Nelek, could have used more rounding, but Noah Emmerich worked quite well with what he was given. My new catch phrase will have to be "Production Value" lol. You'll understand when you see it.


Overall it was a very enjoyable film.  And make sure to stay for the credits as you'll get a treat.


Rating: 4 out of 5.  (Hubby's rating: Worth full price of Admission.)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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