Box art for Super 8

Super 8

sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers


Acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams join forces in this extraordinary tale of friendship, mystery, and adventure.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    82%
  • Audience Score
    75%

common sense

ON for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sex
1 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

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.

what families can talk about

  • 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?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    82%
    reviews counted: 0
    see all Super 8 reviews
  • Audience

    75%

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Interesting sci-fi installment. Thought it would be more epic though. A bit hyped-out.

- Raajay, Saturday, July 14, 2012

4 stars

This is the kind of cinematic telepathy, touching hearts and minds, that gave us Steven Spielberg's E.T., Jaws, and Close Encounters of Third Kind. Thankfully to the kids are more than alright. They're fabulous; yearingly fresh-faced and infantile. The boys stand in tremulous awe of Elle Fanning's Alice, who has agreed to co-star in their Zombie movie. She's also a precious commodity for J.J. Abrams: the budding romance between Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice gives the film its heartbeat. For all its flickers of feeling, Super 8 never relinquishes its movieness. Where Spielberg mingled the extraordinary with a verifiable suburbia, Abrams works at one remove, locating the extraordinary in Spielbergia. The magic comes lovingly pre-packaged and idealised. Abrams admits that the coming-of-age and coming-of-alien storylines were separate ideas, melded together. This bi-part origin is always palpable, unaided by Abrams' drip-feed approach turning into a cascade. Sci-fi eventually floods the town - and this film - washing away mystery and much of the charm. Convention also rears its ugly head. Apart from a sketchy rescue mission, the kids are bystanders in a plot that has crash-landed from a different movie. No matter how much CG-alien action rolls out, we miss just watching these kids grow up. In this, at least, Abrams is true to his mentor. The humans here are the most awesome special effect.

- deano, Sunday, February 17, 2013

4 stars

A group of kid filmmakers witness a train crash that leads to a battle with an extraterrestrial. There is a fine line between plagiarism and homage, but I guess getting the person whom he's plagiarizing to produce his film saves J.J. Abrams from any charges and raises Super 8 to the level of homage. Super 8 is E.T. and The Goonies all rolled into one, but it's not just the character types and the plot that are reminiscent of Spielberg; the kid characters emerge from broken families, the adults fail to understand their children's intelligence, there are numerous shots of people looking, and even the score is similar to something John Williams would pen -- all trademarks of early Spielberg. While it could be said that Abrams's film never rises too far above imitation, that doesn't mean that the film isn't thoroughly entertaining. Even the emotional moments -- the love story between Alice and Joe, Charles's third act revelation, Joe's speech to the alien, and the third act bit with the necklace -- are all compelling and delicately handled; indeed, Abrams handles pathos with a more practiced hand than early Spielberg, whose emotional moments reeked of sentimentality. While Joel Courtney is quite good, Elle Fanning gives the one exceptional performance; everyone else is adequate. Overall, this is a fantastic, human, compelling science fiction film that will surely remind you of times when science fiction was about more than just explosions and special effects.

- hunterjt13, Saturday, April 6, 2013