Jack Goes Confidential: J.J. Abrams Serves Up Spielberg Magic in ‘SUPER 8’

Here’s a movie quiz!

What does BRIDESMAIDS have in common with SUPER 8?

Answer: An unremarkable title that could actually work against the film’s success, that’s what.
Case-in-point, BRIDESMAIDS advance tracking by Hollywood research firms was pretty unimpressive. The title sounded total chick flick and the want-to-see factor by males was almost non-existent. It wasn’t until after the movie opened and received great word-of-mouth that it became a major hit!

The same could hold true for SUPER 8.

Several people to whom I’ve recommended the movie had no idea what SUPER 8 meant—not to mention that the picture doesn’t sport a marquee cast. And it’s also not tracking too well.

As to the title’s meaning, SUPER 8 stands for the type of film people used to shoot home movies with before camcorders and other small video devices became available. Super 8 was a type of 8mm film.

With SUPER 8 one of Hollywood’s most influential current filmmakers J.J. Abrams (Cloverfield-Star Trek) pays homage to movie meister Steven Spielberg, who also produced the film.

SUPER 8 is a terrific, nostalgic, coming-of-age, action thriller that perfectly blends elements of GOONIES and STAND BY ME with those of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, JAWS, JURASSIC PARK and E.T.

The setting is 1979 as a group of kids is filming their own homegrown 8mm zombie movie near an old train station. When right in the middle of their shoot a train passes, is crashed into and derailed—on purpose—by a pickup truck.

An incredible crash scene all caught on their still rolling Super 8 camera!

But WHY the crash? And why is the Air Force now sealing off the area? And what was ON the derailed train that’s now terrorizing the small town?

Excellent storytelling by writer/director Abrams, who used a primarily unknown cast and with producer Spielberg’s touches all over the film. The only actor I recognized was Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler playing the local deputy who tries to uncover the truth—something pretty damn terrifying!

Bottom line, Abrams tribute film to Spielberg succeeds in a big way!

Suggestion: If and when you go to see it be sure to stay through the end-credits as the kids’ now-completed zombie movie finally appears in its completed state.

But a word of caution, SUPER 8 is rated PG-13 and may be too intense for kids under the age of 10.

My take?

Paramount’s SUPER 8 triggers 4 out of 5 movie-magical fingers.


JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday’s on NewsRadio KMBZ / RADIO BACH, Kansas City’s HD Classic Station / and 99.7-THE POINT.

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2 Responses to Jack Goes Confidential: J.J. Abrams Serves Up Spielberg Magic in ‘SUPER 8’

  1. jon says:

    thumbs up
    Saw it last night at AMC Imax and agree with you. One of the best flicks we’ve seen this summer.

  2. gene says:

    next generation
    the sequel could have the kids grown up and in college and progressed to 16mm. Their film project then could be called ‘Hot 16’.

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