Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

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Baseball Broadcasts: Behind the Scenes

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Film Review: Super 8 (2011)

Jul 03 2011 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

Poster for Super 8 (2011)“J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg.” Time and time again that’s how I’ve heard Super 8 (2011) described. People allege that this name recognition alone is all one needs to hear to be sold on the film.

Alright, so there’s probably a good deal of truth in that. What with J.J. Abrams coming straight off his franchise-revitalizing Star Trek (2009) and Spielberg having a masterpiece or two to his name as well, I was pretty much sold on seeing this film – and yet, turns out that was a devaluation of this masterpiece.

Simply put, Abrams has created a masterful piece of cinema in Super 8, one that has perhaps been undervalued in critic’s evaluations and movie recommendations between friends. As a pure sci-fi thriller, you can’t say much about this film without giving something away that will ruin the experience, and so, we are left with the “Abrams and Spielberg – you have to see it!” line.

That’s simply not enough!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so sold on a film based solely on the first shot. The entire emotional context of the film (which, spoilers withheld, is certainly a deep and complex one) is portrayed in this first few seconds (although it seems like an eternity) without showing a single main character or even a location that appears later in the film. The second shot connects this moment to the main character, continuing the mood and giving us the essential character development.

Two shots. Exposition essentially complete.

Boom! Now it’s time to go on a journey. Again, I won’t say much here because literally anything can be considered a spoiler, but suffice it to say that the characters, albeit mostly young, are well written, the dialogue is amazingly natural, yet informative, and the acting is surprisingly amazing despite the characters’ ages.

The story is exciting and initially engaging. The only flaws come in the third act which is predictable, making it seemingly slow to get to the point at times. I would agree with many critics on some writing flaws at the very end, something I might go into more details on in a future spoilers post.

I could say a lot more, but this is a film where it’s really best to just see it for yourself and discuss it later (definitely feeling an upcoming spoiler post…)

Overall, this is an excellent film. It’s probably Abrams’ best directorial effort and stands its own against much of Spielberg’s filmography as well.

9/10 Stars

Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.

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