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Movie Review: Super 8

Dare I say, one of the strongest summer entries this year. Sure, Super 8 wasn't exactly what I expected after I saw the trailer, but I was extremely pleased at how well it turned out.

The first half of the film was, arguably, a bit slow, but I actually thought that it was an excellent set-up to the story. By the time the big action sequences came in, it had a bigger impact because there was already plenty of build up and character development. Yes, there's a shockingly great deal of character development in this movie.

More than anything, I thought the film dwelt more on its characters - sidelined the science fiction aspect a little bit - which was quite refreshing. I found the relationship between the young group of friends quite flawless. It actually made me care about these characters, which was rare for a movie under this genre.

Of course, it would not have worked if not for the excellent portrayal of the actors. The kids were, for the most part, surprisingly impressive, and it's even more astounding when I consider the fact that some of them - including the lead - were in their first featured film. Joel Courtney did a phenomenal job as the lead. His subtle nuances were absolutely incredible. Elle Fanning also proved herself as a strong and emotional young actress, even possibly better than her older sister Dakota. Kyle Chandler, on the other hand, gave a sense of authority to his character that's not entirely intimidating but worked perfectly fine. The other supporting roles also gave solid performances making this a great acting ensemble.

Now, on a technical standpoint, everything was on point. This excellently directed movie was filled with fantastic special effects, top notch cinematography, lavish production design and sweeping musical score. The train collision, for instance, was handled extremely well. It was visually amazing, but the sound effects on that particular scene was actually a huge drawing point on why one should see this in theaters. I found the scoring so loud, so distinct and so precise that it made me feel like I was actually there. Yes, it was both frightening and exciting. Oh, and the lens flares similar to JJ Abrams' Star Trek was actually a nice touch.

As far as the actual monster went, the design wasn't as cheesy as that in Cloverfield. It's not cliched, it's nothing obvious, and it was something in its own. There were some holes on the monster's separate storyline, but as a whole it achieved what it set out to: scare and put me on the edge of my seat. Haha. There's more I'd like to say, but that's flirting with spoiler territory already, so I'd rather not get into it.

One minor - and it's nitpicking almost - quibble was the ending of the film. It was a bit rushed and abrupt right when I was in the middle of the awe and action. It also left a couple of questions unanswered, and I was maybe wanting a little bit more from it. But, of course, I wouldn't take too much from the whole movie just because of this.

Overall, Super 8 steadily reminded me of E.T, but still was a unique summer flick on its own. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it's a rather brilliant science fiction thriller. Wonderful cast. Solid storyline. Brilliant writing. Amazing sound effects. Stunning special effects. Recently, films under this genre either forgot it's roots or tried too hard to push the limits of visual effects. Well, Super 8 was the savior I've been waiting for.

Movie Review: Super 8 Reviewed by DAM on 4:03 AM Rating: 5

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