OK for kids 13+
Teens save town in action-heavy sci-fi film with retro feel.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this exciting, 1979-set sci-fi drama -- which follows a group of young teens who witness a horrific train accident while making a homemade movie and get caught up in a military cover-up involving a mysterious and dangerous beast -- has some intense action violence, especially the truly terrifying train wreck. There's some blood and weapons use, and some scenes may make you jump out of your seat, but gore is minimal. Also expect some drinking/drug content (including someone trying to sell the kids pot) and swearing (including one use of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "a--hole," and more). Director J.J. Abrams manages to perfectly capture the feeling of similar movies from the period, largely by drawing shamelessly from the works of producer Steven Spielberg.
- Families can talk about the movie's messages about communication and peaceful negotiation. How does the movie's violence tie in to this message?
- For those familiar with Spielberg's movies -- how is this an obvious homage to his films? What elements of Spielberg's movies are evident in the heroes, the story, the cinematography, the music?
- How would this movie have been different if it was set in the present day? How does Abrams include '70s technology in the storyline?
- Why are the kids so devoted to making Super 8 movies? What purpose does the activity serve? Do kids these days get to indulge in creative pursuits like these in the same way?
The good stuff
Messages: The movie's overall message is that communication is essential in understanding others and can help avoid violence and promote understanding. Also, that isolation, loneliness, and cruelty only breed anger, bitterness, and revenge.
Role models: Joe is a fantastic kid. Yes, he sneaks out of his house to help his friend make a movie, but he's also kind, generous, loving, and brave. He risks his life to help Alice when no one else will and treats her with reverence and respect rather than an objectified prize he should earn. Deputy Lamb is willing to investigate the Air Force's shady doings even when the naive sheriff tells him it's nothing to worry about. Even though Lamb isn't the most understanding father at first, he later shows just how much he loves and is willing to sacrifice for Joe. All of Joe's friends are great boys who stand by each other even during horrific, life-threatening situations.
What to watch for
Violence: From the huge, terrifying train crash that starts the action to the heart-stopping climax when lives we care about are at stake, there's a lot of action that's likely to scare younger viewer (a couple of scenes may literally leave viewers jumping out of their seats or gasping aloud). The alien is unseen for most of the movie, but he wreaks havoc by making scary things happen. A man bloodied in an accident pulls a gun on teenagers to get them to flee; several characters are grabbed by the alien. The Air Force is led by a sadistic colonel who thinks nothing of ordering a scientist killed by a poisonous injection or sending his people out on near-suicide missions. The troops start a fire to force a town to evacuate. The alien squashes people, but there aren't any lingering shots of blood or guts (the way there would be in an R-rated movie). A mother's death via a horrible steel mill accident is talked about throughout the movie.
Sex: Joe and Alice flirt with each other, exchanging furtive glances and then having heart-to-heart talks. They eventually share a couple of embraces, and it's clear they "like each other."
Language: One humorously depicted use of the word "f--k" (said by an older teen), as well as several uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and "bitch" by the middle-school protagonists. Other words include "p---y," "d--k," "hell," "ass," "damn," "dumbass," "idiot," "stupid," "oh my God," and a few exclamations of "Jesus!" and "God!"
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Deputy Lamb and his fellow officers drink beer after their shifts. The camera shop salesman asks Charles and his middle-school friends if they want to buy pot; he's later shown smoking a joint and admits that he's high. The kids react to his inability to drive during a crisis by saying "Drugs are so bad." Mr. Dainard is usually shown drunk, drinking, or smoking cigarettes.
Fan Reviews provided by
Super 8 - I Give it a 10 by COchoa
Super 8 blended a good story about the strength of family and friendship set in the late 1970s with a healthy dose of fantasy and science fiction. Seeing that both Spielberg and JJ Abrams figured in this film hinted that the viewer would be well entertained. The characters were well cast especially Elle Fanning and the other actors who played the young people's roles. Ms. Fanning gave an outstanding performance. The sound track really brings home the feel of the 1970s era as do certain items such as the Walkman scene. This film will appeal to most viewers but young children might be frightened at parts where characters and figures appear suddently without warning or be overwhelmed by the sounds of loud noises. One needs to stay and watch the film through the credits to reap the full benefit of the meaning of the film. I saw this film on a large screen and felt like a part of the film. Nothing beats the feeling. I rate Super 8 a big 10. Go see it!
Super 8 by GDBJNC
Incredible movie. One of the best I've seen this year.
Iron Giant redux by slippery99
Seriously. This movie is just a live action / CGI version of The Iron Giant. Don't get me wrong, the movie is worth seeing just for the acting of the two kids who play the deputy's son and the town drunk's daughter. You can ignore the predictable script and enjoy all the action (not to mention enough young-teenagers-in-love tears to make this an acceptable chick flick). Nevertheless, try to go to a matinee when the tickets are cheaper. Otherwise, this would be a "so-so" movie.
Super 8 by Chloe0684
Its not to scary, at least not for me however this is the perfect date night movie. Its thrilling, suspenseful and good get a good laugh from the tweens. Excellent movie Cute love story
Action Packed by DaronB
Super 8 couldn't have been more action packed! The storyline, for the most part, was great. The only problem is the movies is so built up to just be let down at the end. VERY ANTICLIMACTIC!! For the main characters being all children, the acting was pretty up to par. But I would recommend this movie to adults (I know it's rated PG-13, but the rating should have been R).
Another exercise in patience from J.J. Abrams by filmweasle
This director's favorite style seems to be: "Leave it to their imagination, and give 'em a little pay-off at the end." His movies and TV shows are fantastic at raising curiosity and questions... but forget to entertain along the way. I for one am tired of it. Super 8 is no different... the majority of the movie plays like a coming of age tale, with just enough snippets of action and alien attack sprinkled in to keep you in your seat. the payoff doesn't come until the last 20 minutes or so. Not a bad movie, but not worthy of having Spielberg's name attached to it... it's an overhyped E.T. re-do with a PG-13 rating, and less heart. Think "Lost" + "E.T."+ Cloverfield, minus the shaky cam shooting.
Super 8 = not so great by sarahbae09
The storyline was good - as if reading a well-written book...but not as visually exciting or entertaining as XMen or Transformers. The ending was also cheesy and cliche. The movie was like a mix of The Goonies (because the main characters are a group of kids) and ET.
cool by jess crush
due to reports of heavy violence and bad language we decided to wait on the dvd for thos one but it was still so good and yes there was alot of violence and language like you would not beleve bit strong for my taste usualy but it was a realy realy good movie so i just went with it and enjoyed it and had alot more fun than if i would counted the use of swearing because trust me there is pleanty their to be counted
summer fun at its best by diet pepsi
i did not realy know what i would get from this movie due to some bad reviews i had read and some bad things people told me but it was not bad at all compaired to what some said my only complaint is WAY too mutch swearing for my taste but other than that realy good
Super 8 by jonesb999
My wife and I walked out before it was over. What a piece of junk and a waste of our money! Great job on the advertisement to get us there! This movie was comparable to one made back in the 50's, on the version of the "The Blob" or "The Thing". Pure garbage!