When a military train crashes in a small town in Ohio, 5 friends soon learn that there was something otherworldly unleashed in the aftermath.
Super 8 is a beautifully filmed love letter to the late ’70’s early ’80’s Steven Spielberg films. Directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Spielberg himself, the film is occasionally touching and occasionally frightening, but in the end falls short of the films it is paying homage to.
I really wanted to love this film. I wanted ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘. I wanted ‘E.T.‘. Hell, I wanted ‘Gremlins‘ and ‘The Goonies‘. Sadly, what we get is an amalgamation of really cool set pieces with a story that really doesn’t gel. There are far too many films being borrowed from here instead of just focusing on one. I can see the influence of ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘E.T.’ and ‘The Goonies’. If Abrams would have focused on paying homage to just one of these films, he could have made it a tighter story and pulled more of an emotional reaction from the audience.
Don’t mistake me. This is not a horrible film. Actually, when I saw it in the theater I walked out very satisfied and nostalgic for the films of my childhood. Having since re-watched ‘Close Encounters’, ‘E.T.’ and ‘The Goonies’, then watching this again, I find that I am not as satisfied. Rose colored glasses on the first viewing, I am guessing.
The video transfer here is beautiful. This film looks better on blu-ray than it did in the cinema. That is saying a lot. I noticed nothing that would distract from the viewing experience. I actually noticed some smaller details that I had missed in the theater. (James Locke Jeweler? John Locke from Lost, created by Abrams, a relative? Hmmm. . .)
The audio was also amazing and clear throughout. The only issue I had with the audio was that there was no middle ground. The dialogue was fairly quiet, but the action scenes were incredibly loud. This would be awesome if I didn’t live in an apartment with thin walls. Instead, I was continually adjusting my surround sound. Up during dialogue, down during action.
The special features are also impressive on this disc. Including a documentary deconstructing the train crash, deleted scenes, and 8 featurettes that can be watch as a single documentary. There is also a commentary track. The only thing missing are the theatrical trailers.
Overall, this is a decent film and a great blu-ray. This is one of those discs that you can break out to show the uninitiated how great blu-ray is. Too bad the film itself doesn’t stack up against those that is is paying homage to.
Blu-Ray ***1/2 out of ****
Movie **1/2 out of ****