Back when Super 8 came out over the summer I was a little curious was about, read some reviews, and figured out from the reviews that this wasn't my kind of movie at all. In fact, it seemed like it would probably be a movie I would rage at and feel like it was a waste of money, unless I was seeing it with friends on campus for a dollar that is. So that's what happened, I waited until school started, grabbed some friends and I saw the movie with all the nickles and dimes I had left over from doing laundry.
Summary: In a small town in Ohio, 1979, Joe and his dad are still getting over the loss of Joe's mom a few months earlier and Joe seems to be coping better by helping his friends make a zombie movie for a local film festival. Things are going swell, the director is happy, they managed to convince a cute girl in their class to play a small role in the film, but when a military train derails at their shooting site it's only the first of many strange things to happen to their town.
The Good: Not much fiction is set between the 1960s and the 1990s (that wasn't written as contemporary fiction in that time period to start with) so I always like to see stories set then and it was fun to see people walking around with new walkmen, late '70s fashion and the dated details on the insides of the houses. It was also fun to see the kids going about making their movie and, even if I wanted to strangle some of the kids at times, I thought they felt like real children.
The Bad: This movie ended in the wrong place and even seeing the kid's finished movie playing during the credits didn't make me much happier about it*. Others have said the movie felt like two movies smashed together and it really did feel that way at parts. Sometimes the contrast between ordinary life with soldiers in the background doing mysterious things worked and other times it just didn't. I also felt like the movie was trying too hard to make Joe's dad a really badass character that I should root for but after his line "it's us against the world Joe" I just couldn't like him. Here's a man with a hard job but he does have friends who believe him and is now in a position of authority, why the heck is he trying to isolate himself and his son?
The Audio: I thought that the sound effects managed to perfectly mimic the way that a homemade film produced a few decades ago would sound (especially one made by kids, I think someone had fun editing that whole thing) and that the background music in general was good.
The Visuals: A friend had told me beforehand that there was a scene in here that put Michael Bay to shame and there is one, way over the top (so over the top it draws you out of the movie) action scene which was just nuts. Aside from that scene, which almost felt like it should be in another movie, everything else was consistent, the CGI worked fairly well and even a few of JJ Abrams trademark lens flares managed to find their way into the movie.
I didn't end up hating this movie and didn't dislike it as much as I thought I would but it was still a silly thing and I'm confused why so many people liked it, nostalgia? Then again, I don't get why my friends still love bad movies from their childhoods either, nostalgia is a strange thing....
*I was joking with friends that after seeing District 9 and Super 8, both of which end with non humanoid aliens fixing a spaceship and taking off into outer space, that I want a movie that ends the exact same way next year with the number 7 in the title.