" It's not bad, per say, but it is so overdone and underwhelming that I can't think of a single good reason for anybody to see it. Everything it has to offer you can find in much better versions somewhere else. "
Title: Super 8 by Paramount Pictures
Format: Suspense/Horror Film
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
As it is inconceivable to imagine any of you
remaining untouched by the marketing juggernaut that preceded Super 8's release,
I won't bother with an extended overview of the movie. You already know what
it's about; a group of kids are filming a movie, a train derails, some kind
of monster escapes and does horrible things, the Air Force is involved and covers
Or, at least, that's what we're told it's about.
What you don't know from that summation, and won't know until you sit through the entire movie, is that the movie isn't really about that stuff at all. Sure, all of it happens, but aside from the first part--the bit about the kids filming--the rest represents a mere fraction of the film. What Super 8 is really about, to a belaboring degree, are interpersonal relationships; children's relationships with their fathers, kids liking each other, kids being jealous of other kids liking each other. and so on, ad nauseum.
The rest of it: the monster, the mystery, the military's involvement, is really more of a setting--a backdrop to give the occasional bit of flare while the relationships are explored. The monster and his misdeeds maybe get fifteen minutes of total screen time, and the military aspect is so simplistic, and so paper thin, that if it wasn't plastered all over the trailer I wouldn't even bother to mention it.
Now, setting personal relationships against a horror canvas is nothing new, and has been done successfully many times, but unfortunately Super 8 just doesn't pull it off with any particular flare. The characters, while decently acted, are almost entirely two dimensional. The issues between them, while mostly believable, are so trite that you can't help but root for them to shut up about it so you can get back to the monster parts.
Of course, once the characters find catharsis--as they obviously and predictably do--you're suddenly faced with the reality that the monster parts aren't particularly interesting either. I won't spoil the set up for the few who won't see it coming from a mile away--but suffice to say that it is banal and inexplicable. Mankind is bad, the military is bad, and we will invariably make the idiotic choice to muck with things that are capable of destroying us with a mere thought--but won't choose to do so until after the captured protagonist is rescued and the director is desperate to end the movie inside its allotted run-time.
Ultimately, as the credits rolled and I was left to ponder what I had just seen, I was struck with exactly how unremarkable Super 8 is. It's not bad, per say, but it is so overdone and underwhelming that I can't think of a single good reason for anybody to see it. Everything it has to offer you can find in much better versions somewhere else.