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Super 8 Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

Yes, super. Read full review

2.5

Grae Drake Profile

10-year-old me loves it. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    72

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Loving, Playful, and spectacularly well made, Super 8 is easily the best summer movie of the year - of many years.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Like an old airplane (or spacecraft) jerry-rigged from scrap pieces and made air-worthy again, Super 8 has been patched together with 30-year-old spare parts to provide an enjoyable ride of its own.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This sci-fi thriller has an engrossing plot and a strong cast of fully drawn characters. There's even a sweet youthful love story. In other words, it's a summer blockbuster firing on all cylinders.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This new film isn't perfect, and may not be a world-changer, but it's certainly a world-pleaser.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Super 8 reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

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
  • message true1

    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.

  • rolemodels true1

    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 false2

    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 false0

    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 false2

    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 false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    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.

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