I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Super 8

(intermission)
(intermission)

My Summer of 2001 10th Anniversary Retrospective will continue shortly, but as requested here’s a brief interlude in the present to deal with some pressing issues.

SUPER 8 is the new picture from writer/director Jay-Jay Abrams (‘Felicity’) that is produced by Steven Spielberg and done in a style that’s a slavish tribute to the classic Spielberg pictures of the ’70s and ’80s. It takes place in ’79 and it’s about a kid whose mom recently died (if it was a real Spielberg movie it would be about divorce), his dad doesn’t really understand him, his friends are making a zombie movie, and also there is a gigantic train crash that unleashes a monster that scares away the dogs, knocks over alot of shit and kidnaps his girl.

His dad is acting sheriff during the emergency but the military who come in to investigate what got off that train aren’t cooperating. The kids could be straight out of E.T., the dad’s investigation is JAWS, the mystery’s a little CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. You even got some JURASSIC PARK with the offscreen beastie messing shit up, and some WAR OF THE WORLDS in the way the movie limits your view of what’s going on when the shit hits the fan. I haven’t seen THE TERMINAL so I’m not sure if there’s any of that in there. Didn’t notice any MUNICH either.

mp_super8I don’t know how spoiler free you guys have stayed, maybe you don’t even know what escaped from that train. I mean I guess I didn’t know for sure either, I assumed it was an alien but it could’ve been a shark, an aggressive truck, an island full of dinosaurs, a previously unmentioned second island full of dinosaurs, or a smaller and not as well animated group of dinosaurs but with some that fly. It could’ve been a sasquatch, a horse, a dragon, a werewolf, wind, the Rabbit’s Foot from MISSION IMPO33IBLE, talking smoke, a sideways dimension of Heaven, a girl who moved to New York to follow a boy, or just a misunderstanding. All those are probly correct but spoiler it’s an alien. Just basically a small Cloverfield. I call him Nermal.

Yeah, SUPER 8 is kind of like E.T., but mainly in its portrayal of kids who are smart and are dealing with emotional problems and often look upwards in amazement as light shines on their faces. Don’t expect them to dress the alien up like a girl and get it drunk. Instead of eating Reese’s Pieces Nermal eats people (or at least sucks on them, I’m not sure if it ever shows it biting down). It does build a machine out of human junk though, that’s one way it’s like E.T. It doesn’t die and come back to life. It doesn’t heal anybody. It knows this is a dangerous world where people carry more than walkie talkies. At the end, the kid pretty much has to tell it to “be good.” E.T. would be embarrassed by Nermal’s behavior, honestly.

The cast is across the board excellent. The dad is the guy from the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS tv show, the kids are all newcomers except for Elle Fanning from SOMEWHERE. Abrams manages to get very natural, likable performances out of these kids just like his producer used to do, and not grating and obnoxious like GOONIES. I like that the kids get to swear a little, sneak out at night, drive illegally, break into the school, play with explosives and hang around a stoner. It’s not quite STAND BY ME but it’s in that forgotten tradition of acknowledging that kids can be up to no good and still be good kids.

The main kid is a Fangoria kid who does the makeup for their movie and namedrops Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook. His friends include a passionate director, a nerdy actor (he wears a fedora to play an adult, reminds me of the kids who made that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK adaptation) and a kid who likes to blow shit up.

Strangely it’s these characters that are the movie’s strength, not the monster that’s attacking the town. In modern summer movies it’s usually the other way around, I’ve noticed. It does a good job of building up tension and creating this atmosphere of a small town being overrun by a secret military operation, but the most memorable scenes are small things like the kids filming their scenes. (At one point the two worlds intersect as the kids sneak shots in front of real soldiers ransacking a house.)

There’s a great scene where Fanning’s character sort of reluctantly rehearses her scene for the movie and gives a professional-level acting performance. And the way the kids react is hilarious. Actually it’s pretty much the kids version of that scene in MULHOLLAND DR. where she does the audition and turns out to be shockingly great.

You do get to see some of the movie the kids are making and it’s really impressive how authentic it seems. Goofy but not exaggerated. I wonder how the hell Abrams got kids that could give good movie performances but also give performances like kids making home movies? By the way,  this kid has a DAWN OF THE DEAD poster in his room. I don’t know how these kids would’ve seen it, since it was released unrated and this was before home video. I guess age didn’t stop them from driving cars, but I’m guessing they just have pictures and obsessively want to see it but haven’t been able to yet. Maybe they even have the novelization by George Romero with the color photos in the middle and the first one is a head exploding. They have a little Savini and Fulci in their zombies, but they still seem influenced by the b-movies of the ’50s and ’60s with their square doctor characters standing around giving exposition. They’re smart and talented kids but they’re not hip. I like that.

I think my favorite part is the very opening, which uses elegant visual storytelling to show that this kid’s mother has died and then has him sitting on a swing as the adults are inside the house for the reception after the funeral. The movie gets alot of emotional mileage out of that perfect introduction to the situation this poor kid is in.

The movie’s weakest spot is at the end, when everything comes together and the mystery has to turn into the solution. The unexplained becomes the explained, the weird happenings have to sort of make sense and the creature that’s been making crazy noises and knocking large metal objects around has to show himself. What happens is pretty simple and relies pretty much on magic, the idea that it’s from space so it can do shit that goes against our science. Or maybe it wouldn’t seem that way if it had the Jeff Goldbum scientist character who explains what’s going on. Instead it’s the kids who stumble across it so fuck it, why bother explaining, it’s a space monster doing some crazy shit. I liked that about it.

It’s all leading to a climax that could be knock-you-on-your-ass heartwarming if the story worked toward it a little better. Instead it’s just sweet. But I’ll take it.

By the way, I will not be mentioning this “J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box” thing that everybody mentions in SUPER 8 reviews, other than to say that I haven’t seen that episode of Felicity where it’s shot like a Twilight Zone episode and at the end it turns out they’re stuck inside the box that Meghan always had and wouldn’t let anybody know what was inside. I’ve already made it very clear I don’t watch that show so why would i know anything about that, I’m not a girl.

I keep hearing references to there being some “secret” in SUPER 8. Those people are confused. There’s no secret, but in the J.J. Abrams tradition (and the E.T. tradition) they haven’t let pictures of the monster get out ahead of the movie, so you go in not knowing what’s it gonna look like. The difference is that E.T. was a perfect and unique design and it used groundbreaking special effects that still look great today. SUPER 8 doesn’t have that.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t got big complaints. But I could’ve loved it if it had a great monster. I love a good monster and this is merely a passable one. There’s a big build to finally seeing the thing and then it doesn’t have enough screen time for you really to get to know it the way you would a King Kong or a JURASSIC PARK t-rex. It’s more like a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t JAWS type monster role, which doesn’t really fit because the movie is asking you to have some sympathy for it at the end, not for you just to want to see it get blown up. Yeah, I understand intellectually that he got a raw deal and doesn’t know better than to eat some human flesh, but to truly sympathize emotionally I gotta look into its eyes and recognize some kind of intelligence or soul or humanity. Instead it’s just another CGI spider headed crab monster fucker.

I’m not saying it’s embarrassing like the cartoony two headed podrace commentators in STAR WARS PART 1 or something like that. It just looks like a leftover design from CLOVERFIELD. Like so many monsters and robots these days there’s no grace to it, no elegance, it’s just a big pile of needless arms and bumps and shit, a bunch of shit wiggling around and moving too fast. You don’t even come out of the movie knowing what shape the guy is. There’s no discernible silhouette. Show me the shadow of E.T., the Alien, the Predator, Mickey Mouse, Run DMC, I would know what it was. Cloverfield or Nermal or Megatron I wouldn’t know which one it was, it would just look like somebody holding up a fistful of spaghetti. That works fine for Cloverfield because he’s just a big dumb asshole stepping on your friends, you’re not supposed to relate to him or get a clear look at him. This Super 8 guy though he should be a real character, and he’s not.

I believe it’s time for all the monster designers and the producers and art directors who boss them around to go on a vacation in the mountains. When they get to the top Guillermo del Toro’s gonna be there. He’s gonna go around with a whistle making them jog and do pushups. Then he’s gonna lecture them for six days about how to make good monsters. He’s gonna tell them corny anecdotes about Ray Harryhausen or some shit. Then he’s gonna poison them and they’re gonna wake up with no memory of their past work. They gotta fuckin start over because the world does not need another one of those fuckin Rancor monster ripoffs like in THOR and CLASH OF THE TITANS and it certainly doesn’t need any more of these tentacly CGI blobs in the Abrams movies.

Luckily nobody has come close to approaching the terribleness of the design in the TRANSFORMERS movies, but it’s all that same wrong-headed philosophy that because it is now possible for computers to pile ten million needless details on top of an indistinct skeleton that it’s what you gotta do every time. You know, E.T. was made of rubber, they could’ve easily put a bunch of wiggly tentacles all over him if they wanted to but they used the “would this look like crap?” rule and that dictated that they should not.

It’s time to put the “would this look like crap?” rule back into practice. Saying this monster looks like crap is overstating it, I guess. But I think we can all agree that it’s not an all time great monster for the ages. To not do better is to not take the responsibility of reviving the early Spielberg magic seriously enough.

But the sweet story of the kid comes together with the story of the alien. He has a little piece of wisdom and he shares it with the alien to make peace and it’s corny as hell but the kid’s eyes look so innocent I’ll accept it. He’s like Linus. He could stop a monster from killing everybody or he could tell you where the most sincere pumpkin patch is.

This ain’t JAWS or E.T. and I don’t mean that in the “it’s not Hamlet” sense. If Abrams could’ve made it JAWS or E.T. he would’ve. It’s not that good but it gave me a smile in the middle of a so far pretty lackluster summer. It’s a hell of alot better than BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED or something.

* * *
summer ’11 rankings so far:

1. FAST FIVE
2. probly this or X-MEN
3. I don’t know, BRIDESMAIDS was pretty good
4. undecided

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 12:08 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

117 Responses to “Super 8”

  1. Brilliant

  2. I basically agree with your points Vern. When I left the theater, I knew I liked it but it definitely was kinda underwhelming in some parts. Sorry for the shameless posting, but here’s my review as well:

    http://www.barkingherald.com/index.php/2011/06/14/super-8-review/

  3. So I guess you found the childhood stuff honest and sincere. I wonder what’s made me so cynical about it?

    Excellent point about the arm/tooth monsters. I’m afraid Cowboys and Aliens looks like that too. Here’s how right you are. Every time you said “needless,” I thought it said “needles” which made sense because all these monsters look like they have needles sticking out of them. I had to catch myself 2-3 times in that paragraph. But yeah, stop doing that, people. And maybe still use a puppet sometimes.

    I agree the opening shots tell you the whole story of this broken family effectively. I thought the changing of the accident sign was pretty hardcore. Everything after that felt patronizing to me. :(

  4. Vern you’ve done it again, this review hits the nail on the head *SPOILER*

    I loved this movie, but I too was a little disappointed by the alien and his back story, not only could his design have been better (your talk about the silhouettes reminds me of the video game company Valve saying something similar about video game characters) but because of all the viral marketing I expected the answer to the big mystery to big something a little more creative than “an alien crash landed on earth and now he’s escaped and wants to go home”, I guess that’s just the side effect of heavy viral marketing

    plus I wish the score was better, it’s not bad but it’s not got a main theme that’s memorable like E.T. or Back To The Future or something obviously. it seems like the days of movie themes that you can just hum and everybody will know what it is are pretty much over (well Inception had a pretty awesome score though)

    still while it was not perfect it was still a great movie and is more than likely gonna be the best of the summer

    and awww come on Vern, BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED is not that bad (though Super 8 is better), I loved your reference to Harry and The Hendersons though

  5. What’s next — a movie trying to capture the John Hughes movies? “16 Pink Candles”

    What other producer/directors would be an obvious homage target?

  6. I thought this one had an excellent set-up and a really lackluster payoff, both logistically and thematically. Unlike Vern, I did NOT like that the climax was a bunch of crazy shit happening with no rhyme or reason. If he could just yank his cubes telekinetically out of a truck, why couldn’t he yank them telekinetically out of a train? If he could build a ship out of anything he wanted, why didn’t he do it earlier? He spent the past 20 years surrounded by scientifical type equipment, but he had to wait for a little kid to make a speech? And why did the kid need to make a speech anyway? Wasn’t Nermal telepathic and thus would know that not all people are bad from all the other ones he tentacled up? Normally, this kind of nitpicky shit doesn’t bother me, but since the ending required me to get all emotional and shit like when the dog almost gets on the spaceship at the end of E.T., I found this all to be pretty distracting and thus detrimental to the overall impact of the movie.

    Now let’s talk about the themes. This is another one of those movies where the story as plotted does not explicate the themes it claims to be exploring. This was not a movie about a father who needs to be there for his son, as the final scene would indicate by the dad rushing to his kid’s side and saying, “I got you. I got you.” (The funny part was the kid wasn’t even paying attention, like, “Whatever, Dad, I had it under control.”) This was a story about a father who need to leave his kid the fuck alone. The kid knew what he was doing the whole time. It was his monster movie bullshit and weird friends and white trash girlfriend that saved the day, not that macho baseball camp bullshit the dad was talking about, but still the dad gets to ride in like a white knight like he accomplished a single fucking thing in the entire movie except give that poor guard a concussion and make him have to explain why he lost his gun and his uniform. The dad never learned to respect his kid’s choices and still probably thinks he saved the day. But the violins swirl and we’re supposed to be feel some kind of emotional catharsis that the movie did not set us up for.

    It’s like the little speech the fat kid gives about how he read in an article that you need to have a love story in a movie to make the audience care about all the zombie killings. J.J. Abrams knew from old interviews with Spielberg that it’s important to have a human element to the movie so the alien stuff had weight, but he just kind of paid lip service to it. He didn’t make it a crucial part of the story, he just threw it in there because that’s what Steven would have done. It’s not a movie ABOUT a dad learning to understand his kid in the face of alien-themed adversity, it’s just a story where that happens, too, whether it fits or not.

    I’m being so harsh because I really liked the first 3/4 or so. The kids are great, the childhood elements seem sincere and correct, and the look of the movie was excellent. All the elements are there for a great sappy movie. They just need to be rearranged. The kid loves monsters. The dad thinks that shit’s gay. Therefore, the dad should be on the “Kill the monster, its looks do not jibe with community standards!” camp, and the kid should be trying to save it because he has sympathy for outsiders, and eventually the dad learns his lesson that maybe his kid isn’t such a little weiner after all and maybe you shouldn’t judge a book by its hideous alien visage. Then instead of “I got you,” it’s “I trust you,” and then the ship flies off. Niagara Falls.

    This is not rocket science. A chimp could figure out this plot, provided he had seen one of the versions of KING KONG, which he probably had, because c’mon, he’s a chimp, it’s probably his favorite movie. But maybe it SHOULD be rocket science, because rocket science needs to make sense. You need to make sure all the parts fit when you’re making rockets. SUPER 8 is more rocket magic, where all the parts come together all on their own without any explanation or cause, but the rocket flies anyway.

    Wow, that was a pretty good analogy on my part. I just woke up, too. Imagine me when I get my coffee.

  7. DocZ are you sure someone hasn’t already tried to capture John Hughes style?

    anyway the only director I can think of right now who would make for a good homage would be David Cronenberg, I’m talking of course about body horror involving technology, especially since it seems he himself has given up on that

  8. Mr. Majestyk – I’m thinking maybe Nermal couldn’t control the cubes with his mind (after all telepathy does not equal telekinesis) and what he was building out of random stuff was what he needed to reform the cubes together?

  9. I love how defenders talks about the “heart” of this movie and shit even though it’s incredibly mean-spirited. We’re supposed to think it’s a happy ending when the monster returns home, nevermind the fact that he killed at least a dozen people, most of which were innocent. I don’t give a shit that he’s been poked and prodded – he’s supposed to have a two-way mind-melding telepathic bond with whomever he touches, so he knew the convenience store guy/lady in curlers/power company dudes were all innocent and more “scared” than he was, but oh well, fuck em. The convenience guy acted like a buffoon and curlers in hair = funny so no big deal, right? Hell, the monster bonded with Fanning and was STILL about to eat her, but we’re supposed to think it’s awesome that he escapes at the end? So heartwarming.

    Let’s face it, the “telepathic bond” was just Abrams’ shorthand to let the audience know we’re supposed to sympathize with the monster. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was added in ADR and reshoots) The stuff that comes with a bond between man and monster in ANY OTHER MOVIE never happens, because it doesn’t serve Abrams’ purpose. It’s like how he threw in a bunch of kids basically to emulate (and make us think of) The Goonies, but can’t figure out what to do with any of them (or the dads!) so they all just kinda disappear for the climax.

    This is gonna sound shitty, but after this I really do think JJ Abrams makes movies up as he goes along. He just throws in what he thinks will work as a trailer image or a “cool” idea but with no context as to how it will fit in the whole movie. How else to explain the alien controlling the army’s weapons and destroying the town for that one scene and one scene only? (I will honestly say even Michael Bay would have found a more organic storyline reason to include those explosions.) Why did that kid decide to say “mint” 20 times in one scene and then never again? I guess for the same reason Eric Bana tortures Bruce Greenwood with that scorpion thing in Star Trek to get some codes that are never referred to again (and it’s not even clear if he got them or not). Or why did Bana act like Heath Ledger’s Joker for one scene only in Star Trek and then go back to acting like Khan? Because it sounded like a cool idea at the time I guess. Abrams should just go into porn since all he does is have money shots lined up and no coherent way to string them together.

  10. You cynical mother fuckers. I think the only real flaw in the movie is that they don’t really pay off the relationship between father and son.

    Also, you know how Ebert writes about how most movie theaters don’t use the correct wattage with their light bulbs so the movie ends up looking much darker than it should? I’ve never really noticed until this movie. I’d love to say that I can argue about the monster but it was so dark I could barely make out what this thing looked like. It wasn’t the film’s fault for it either because they clearly have close ups of the face of the monster without a lot of quick cutting.

    FUN FACT: The alien is actually a motion capture thing where Bruce Greenwood was actually the monster. And no this isn’t a joke.

  11. Vern, how is it that you’re able to over look action movies obvious tendency to wear their influences on their sleeve but aren’t with this movie?

  12. Honestly, I think the big difference between this movie and the movies its aspiring to be like isn’t really a matter of the script and whever it has enough heart, or whatever, The difference is that, you know, Spielberg is a brilliant visual stylist and master craftsman, and JJ Abrams is just a guy with some clever ideas.

    Even with Spielberg’s weaker films, you always know they are going to be impeccably shot and staged for maximum watchability. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I can’t really think of a lot of part in SUPER 8 where I thought “wow, that was brilliantly staged” or whatever. There were clever individual moments/shots (the part where the monster attacks the gas station attendant but is slightly obscured from our view by the spinning sign comes to mind), but nothing like a classic set piece like Eliot freeing the free/kissing the girl/ causing pandemonium at school in ET, or whatever.

    I’ve seen 3 of Abrams’s films now, and I’m just not seeing him as anything more special than serviceable. I don’t understand why he gets so much love. I don’t see where he has the technical skills or a sense of visual poetry comparable to Spielberg, or for that matter other Spielberg acolytes like Robert Zemeckis or Joe Dante, who also made these kinds of movies back in the 80s.

  13. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 15th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Sternshein, re-read the review. Vern has no problem with this movie wearing its influences on its sleeve, he is simply pointing out that it does.

  14. The theater I saw it at was using the 3D lens instead of the 2D one (you can tell by the dual streams of light coming from the projection booth), which, as Ebert pointed out, darkens the image considerably. Maybe that’s why I didn’t even know that the alien was supposed to be eating people until a friend who saw it at a different theater explained it to me. Watching the movie, I had no fucking idea what Nermal was even doing with the people he kidnapped. I thought he was just being a dick.

  15. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 15th, 2011 at 8:08 am

    There did not need to be an emotional payoff with the father. Vern is right that the dad was simply getting in the way. A good hearted man who loved his son, but was ultimately clueless as to how to relate to him. A b-story. All the emotional beats in the movie are specific to the kids and their own interactions (save for the mother’s death). I actually thought the “I got you” thing was a dig on the father. Vern is 100% correct in pointing out the “wtf, I had this under control” reaction of the kid.

    These movies are about the kids. The parents/adults are foils and nothing more. Like- there is no true emotional payoff in ET between the kids and Dee Wallace or with Keys (Peter Coyote). They are in the story because they have to be and to provide conflict for the the kids. Well meaning but clueless people who don’t recognize that the kids are right and they are wrong.

    I agree almost completely with Vern’s review. A fantastic throwback with a great frame, incredible and naturalistic performances by unknown kids and some incredible set pieces.
    But also with a weak alien design and a climax that wasn’t quite up to snuff, but only in comparison to how great the rest of the movie was.
    Yes, there are a lot of conveniences in the movie. There are a helluva lot of conveniences in ET. The telepathy between ET and Elliot comes and goes. ET can fly (and make those around him fly) but conveniently forgets this fact when he is being chased by dozens of government agents. Blah Blah Blah…
    I am sitting in that theater hoping to be entertained and moved. Hoping for moments. Hoping for emotional reactions (whether they be sadness, fear, joy, excitement). Super 8 gave my ALL of those things, so while I can see it weaknesses, I am not going to pick it apart.

    It also gave me something that I have not seen in a movie in a long long long time.
    Kids On Bikes!
    I wanted to yell it from the rooftops like the AICNers do with that Man In Suit shit.
    “This movie… has KIDS ON FUCKING BIKES racing around hilly suburban streets and forests! KIDS ON FUCKING BIKES!!!”

    Speaking of Kids On Bikes… while I love the Goonies (sorry, Vern) the kids in Super 8 are NOT Goonies kids and anyone that says there are is blind. There is a very distinct difference between ET kids and Goonies kids. Hell there is a big difference between Monster Squad kids and Goonies kids.
    The kids in Super 8 are ET kids, Stand By Me kids… NOT Goonies kids.
    It’s not just the personalities or the writing, it is the tone and style of the performances.

  16. GGC: The difference is that in E.T., none of the adults ever had their own subplot. There were zero scenes without the kids in them, except for the ones with Peter Coyote hunting for E.T., and even then Spielberg never showed the dude’s face. SUPER 8 had a whole subplot built around the dad. He had his own adventure and his own character arc. It just didn’t amount to anything that meant anything to the story at large.

    I guess the main difference is that E.T. could make a motherfucker weep and SUPER 8 can make a motherfucker nitpick. That’s a difference of result, not intent.

  17. But shit, man, if it worked on you, I’m glad. If something works, you don’t cut it open to find out why. That’s what you do when you think the thing is broken. I’m just doing a post-mortem to try to find where the magic went.

  18. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 15th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I see the point(in regards to Friday Night Lights guy), sure. It’s a good one. Though, I still think the experience changed him. No, we didn’t SEE the change (I actually would have been way let down HAD the dad truly saved the day and that would have flown in the face of the whole rest of the movie and weakened the kids) but I think it’s there. I am sure he didn’t make the kid go to baseball camp after all, and it IS obvious that he gave in and let him finish making the movie, so…

    And yes, ET makes me cry. Every fucking time. Even the theme can make me tear up on CD if I am in the right (wrong?) mindset while listening to it.
    I did not get that from Super 8, admittedly. But it’s the closest I have come to recapturing the overall feeling I got from a movie in as long as I can remember. I’m no fan of raisins, but I am willing to eat them when the bread pudding is so damn good.

    And another quick not on ET kids vs. Goonies kids. Goonies kids are caricatures of real kids. Damn entertaining ones (to me) but caricatures nonetheless. ET kids ARE real kids. Stand By Me kids ARE real kids.
    Hell, look at Corey Feldman in The Goonies vs Stand By Me (both GREAT performances… god, what happened, besides drugs, he was truly a fantastic actor as a kid). Two characters that, on paper, could be made to seem very similar (as far as overall personality, going beyond Teddy being abused)… but the performances/ execution could not be more different. It’s part dialogue, part directing, part acting and a lot to do with the overall mood of the movie. I think Monster Squad kids kind of ride the fence between the two.

    Oh… and KIDS ON MOTHERFUCKING BIKES!!!

  19. I didn’t want him to save the day. Hell no. I just wanted him to be involved in the narrative in a meaningful way, preferably as an antagonist who eventually changes sides. I think that would have been satisfying in a way that his completely fruitless investigation was not.

  20. Yeah, what Mr. Majestyk & neal2zod said a ways up, except I liked much less than 3/4 of SUPER 8.  I also agree with most of Vern’s review, but somehow I hated a lot of this movie and will never watch it again unless JJ & Spielberg invite me to their millionaires’ mansion to hang out and talk about alien life while, like their sci-fi filmatic efforts, avoiding any of the math & science related to such discussions.  

    (James Cameron and many others are better at the nerdy but rewarding academic aspects of sci-fi filmatism, whereas Spielberg is great at the nerdy and uncomfortable heart-tugging child wonder fantasy aspects of sci-fi filmatism.  In my opinion, this means I should lower my expectations when I watch a Spielberg uplifter type movie, but maybe that’s because my Grinch heart just isn’t ready for love.)  

    The juvie actors & actress were all phenomenal, though, good for them, too bad the story was wack.  Shit like this, even though there were explosions & running & stuff, reminds me of & justifies Mr. Majestyk’s irrational fear of the standard drama genre he mentioned one time.  The music swells, the kid hugs her freshly redeemed father, Spielberg nods his approval somewhere, and I suppress vomit while furiously wishing I had waited for DVD.  

    Classic Elizabethan literature always makes the parents an obstacle to the younger protagonists’ love.  It’s a contrivance, but it’s a classic device used in many great works.  In SUPER 8, though, for no good reason we get a script that has “Now listen!  I don’t want you to see that girl/boy again!  He/She’s not allowed over here anymore and that’s final!”  This made my head hurt.  Who writes this shit?  

    There was potential with the holding cell escape scene — clever “I have to pee” ruse, good forearm, rifle buttstock blow, conveniently simplistic explosion shot, hop in vessel, okay. . . then all of a fucking sudden it cuts and dude is like a mile away and in the clear!  C’mon, Air Force!  Er, c’mon, JJ!  You’re better than that.  That’s the FACE//OFF prison rig escape conundrum again, but these guys had the budget to do better in ET2, er, SUPER 8.  If it’s a kids’ movie, then I get why so many “suspenseful” scenes don’t have much of a violent payoff after all those formulaic eerie-quiet-then-guy-turns-his-head-then-something-barely-visible-moves-then-shadows-then-scream-and-cut scenes, but that escape scene is terrible action filmatism.  

    Also, SUPER 8’s anti-drug message was shoehorned and off the mark.  

  21. I agree. “Don’t do drugs or you’ll fall asleep and miss the alien invasion” is no “Don’t do drugs if you’re Helen Hunt or you’ll jump out a window” in my opinion.

  22. “I believe it’s time for all the monster designers and the producers and art directors who boss them around to go on a vacation in the mountains. When they get to the top Guillermo del Toro’s gonna be there. He’s gonna go around with a whistle making them jog and do pushups. Then he’s gonna lecture them for six days about how to make good monsters. He’s gonna tell them corny anecdotes about Ray Harryhausen or some shit. Then he’s gonna poison them and they’re gonna wake up with no memory of their past work.

    That’s probably my favorite thing you’ve ever said, vern.

  23. What do you guys think about the story of the tension between the two dad’s over the mom’s death? I liked that moment where cop dad decides to forgive drunk dad and tell him not to blame himself, but if there was supposed to be a specific thing that led to that understanding I didn’t catch what it was.

  24. Another sort of dropped narrative thread is basically everything involving the fat kid. The movie spends a fair amount of time setting up his personality, sets up the minor conflict of his jealousy over the main character winning the affections of the girl, establishes him as a movie lover and seems primed to bring in some message about the power of cinema (or whatever) and then just up and drops him and all that stuff during the finale. I don’t get it.

    I think part of the reason people felt disappointing in how the movie turns out is because it’s sort of structured as a mystery, but then the mystery just turns out to be exactly what you think it is and its not very interesting. You know, the early scenes make you wonder: why did this guy crash the train? What are those weird white cubes? What is the nature of the monster? And then it all just turns out to be the same monster movie plot you’ve seen a million times before, there wasn’t really any need to make it mysterious except to give a false sense of narrative development. As Vern mentioned, the mysterious ad campaign probably only compounded this for audiences.

    Obviously I understand the classic setup of keeping the monster in the shadows until the finale to make its big reveal more dramatic, but they kind of botch that here and you wonder if maybe it would have been cooler if they bucked tradition and just kind of laid all the cards on the table early in the film.

    The same thing even kind of happens with the whole story about the dead mom. I think it’s clear right from the beginning that the dad blames this guy for the moms death, but the movie holds back on that information until the daughter makes the big reveal 2/3rds of the way into the movie that… the dad blames her dad for the mom’s death. I think we all had inferred that already.

  25. Vern – yeah, the two dads subplot was amazingly trite and kind of insulting. Like Dan just said, they act like the reason the dads hate each other is a big twist, but it’s exactly what you think it is, only stupider. It’s actually kind of a dumb cop-out, as if Abrams didn’t want to make the drunk character unsympathetic, so they just made him “responsible” in the most roundabout of ways.

    And yeah, the “forgiveness” scene happened for the same reason the “I gotcha” scene happened. Because it was time to wrap this shit up.

  26. Here’s a question: What is everybody’s favorite monster from the past, say, fifteen years? It can be from anything; movies, comics, TV, anything. My choice is The Pale Man or the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth, but I also have a soft spot for the creature in The Host. Love that frog-looking fucker. What about you guys?

  27. Vern: Yeah, if anything, Sheriff Dad would be even more pissed at Drunk Dad in that scene because DD’s daughter was the reason SD’s son had put himself in danger. I guess maybe they just bonded over both having kids in jeopardy?

  28. Vern, your question pretty much nails why I saw this movie and finally gave up on J.J. Abrams. So far he is 3-for-3 on excellently made films that totally fail to engage me on any level. The two dad’s came to an understanding because the rules of dramatic writing dictated that resolution. There wasn’t a moment that brought it about other than it was something else moving that can happen during an alien attack. Mr. M pretty much nailed it when he talked about how Abrams puts shit in his movies to feed his intellectual side, but it’s all perfunctory. I want to like these movies for their craft, but when I’m sitting there counting blue lense flares.
    In fact, it says a lot that everyone is always bagging on Abrams and his lense flares, but you know who uses a shit load of lense flares? John Carpenter. Nobody ever notices becuase they are too busy enjoying the characters and the story lines.

    And for all your 90s comic fans, this is what I thought of when I saw the monster (kinda a spoiler maybe I guess)
    http://ronsrescuedtreasures.com/Riot-Symbiote-action-figure-7-12-tall-1996-Toy-Biz-Spider-Man-Planet-Of-The-Symbiotes-P1861144.aspx

  29. I like Abrams’ other movies. He has a good sense of balance between funny and serious, which is what I want in my pop art. But like many other filmmakers who try to throw actual, honest-to-god emotion into the mix, he found that it’s a volatile chemical. Get the mix wrong and it will blow up in your face.

  30. The beginning was good, the ending was poor, but for me; “The Case” was the best part of the whole thing. In fact, they should’ve released that theatrically and saved Super 8 as the “Making of” documentary for the DVD.

  31. I’m saddened to see you guys beat up on this movie so much, was it perfect? no, is JJ as good as Spielberg? hell no, was it still a good movie? yes

    sometimes you just gotta accept movies for what they are instead of what they could be or what you wish they were, that’s one thing it seems like most people on the internet just can’t do

    like I said in the potpourri thread I absolutely love Spielberg and the movies he produced in the 80’s, I even like movies like Batteries Not Included and Harry and the Hendersons, this my jazz man, my Steven Seagal, so of course I was gonna love this movie

    while we’re playing the nitpicking game did anyone notice that it’s not explained what happened to the footage of the alien that the kids took? I don’t know if it was intentionally left up to your imagination or not, but those kids could become famous

  32. Griff, I feel you, but like I said earlier, when the movie works for you, you forgive it the little things. When it doesn’t, you try to figure out what went wrong. Nobody nitpicks a movie that they enjoy watching. That only happens after the movie has already lost you.

  33. This movie played to me like seeing a bunch of college kids playing really pitch-perfect roots music. Their form is impeccable, but it’s just such an obvious recitation of a creation of another culture. Ýou may identify with it, but it’s not your voice speaking your language. It’s someone with a great deal of talent very carefully recreating something which is fundamentally outside of themselves. Sure, Abrams grew up on Speilberg films, but Speilberg was the one who actually grew up with his own life and found his creative voice. There’s a difference there, and I couldnt quite shake it with this one, despite its obvious success with the child actors. Something about it just feels labored and self-conscious, even while it’s succeeding on a technical level.

    You know what it’s like? Its like having sex with someone who is trying to impress you with technique. They’re getting all creative with their manuevers trying to blow your mind, but at the same time it’s not really as fun because they’re thinking about how to impress you instead of actually enjoying the sex. Quit trying to replicate things you see in porn and just listen to what your body’s telling you, J. J. Abrams! We’ll all have a much easier time.

  34. Oh, I don’t know, I can definitely nit pick a movie I love. In fact, it’s kind of a joy when I find a movie that’s worth returning to and pouring over, picking through, over analyzing, etc.

    Then again, I studied movies in college, so I’m still kind of hardwired to take at least a little bit of academic approach to them. As much as I ultimately found a lot of film theory and whatnot to be unhelpful and pedantic, I still find myself compelled to analyze and critique. I can rarely JUST experience a movie and leave it at that; even, say, a fun, light summer blockbuster I really enjoy, I still find it gratifying to try to figure out and understand what about it made me enjoy it so much.

  35. I probably said this in the other threads, but the movie Super 8 reminded me most of was The Expendables. As in, not a “terrible” movie, just a really mediocre one and a huge missed opportunity, and no amount of “your expectations were too high!/it’s not Shakespeare!” guilt tripping could cover up the fact that it’s not good. Don’t worry Griff, that’s not a dig at you, but my friends who ragged on me for not liking The Expendables and then changed their mind and suddenly hated it about a week later. I suspect they’ll change their tune on Super 8 in a little bit.

    Brendan – I’m sure there’s better ones, but I’ll always fondly remember the monster from The Relic, since it came at a time when I had thrown in the towel on there being “original” creature designs. The fact that it was in a hard R movie, looked sorta science-based and had a great origin story (won’t spoil it here) was the icing on the cake.

  36. Subtlety,

    Seem I think this is where I’m differing with everyone else; I definitely do not see Abrams as someone with a great deal of talent who pulled off a film with impeccable form. More than the average joe, certainly, but lacking if we’re comparing him to the great mainstream filmmakers a la Spielberg. I don’t think he has the visual storytelling chops, the wit, craftsmanship, etc.

    To use your metaphor, this was more like seeing your average local band cover a song by an artist you like. You can dance to it because you like the song, but they aren’t exactly doing a stellar job playing it.

  37. Majestyk – I totally agree with you. If I dislike a movie, I’ll analyze it to death to see what went wrong. I couldn’t do that kind of analysis on – say – “Lost in Translation” (a truly brilliant movie) or “Hackers” (not a good movie at all, but one that I enjoy very much for purely subjective reasons even while I acknowledge its flaws).

    I haven’t seen “Super 8”, and probably won’t in the cinema, but it strikes me that we’re not the intended “audience” for this kind of film. And while that maybe shouldn’t make a difference, it often does. I don’t know if I’d like “The Goonies” as much as I do if I’d seen it first when I was, say, 28, as opposed to in my early teens.

  38. Dan — I tend to think nitpicking is somewhat different than pouring through the details of a movie. To me, nitpicking implies focusing on and obsessing over small details as a means of diminishing a film’s merit.

    I’d say I obsess over the details of PHANTOM MENACE (which I ultimately like), taking the film apart, looking at which pieces work and don’t work and thinking about why that is and what they mean. I nitpick SERENITY by pointing out the stupid little flaws which irritate me and make me not enjoy the film as a whole.

    So its an issue of semantics I guess. But I feel like nitpicking as a distinctly negative connotation in its use (at least in these circles)

  39. And I should throw in the caveat that I don’t think SUPER 8 was poorly made, either, just that it didn’t strike me as the work of an exceptional filmmaker. Couple that serviceable filmmaking with some of the script/story/structural problems we discuss, and you’re left with a film that I can’t muster much enthusiasm for. It was okay.

  40. Dan — Well, I suppose you’re right. I dunno, Abrams has something which feels kinda special to me… he has a great sense of spectacle and scale and a great ability to make things feel legitimately dangerous and weighty. And here I thought he really nails the kids’ performances in a way which is pretty rare these days. But somehow he never seems to stick the landing. It’s not just that it feels forced, somehow it doesn’t quite click on a technical level either. It’s well made and some of it is engaging on a level which is kinda rare, but it never quite gels into something classic.

    So I dunno, I’d compare him to Vampire Weekend, a band which clearly as some songwriting chops and obvious technical prowess, but hasn’t yet written a song which sounded wholly honest or wholly classic. There are bits of greatness, but they’re too self-conscious to quite know how to capitalize on their talents and end up kinda coasting in the end.

    Or to stick to my sex metaphor, since its a little more fun, its like fucking a gal who is obviously great at sex but has probably been focusing on the act itself a little too much and as a result can’t quite lose herself in the moment and find the techniques which genuinely work for her. Raw talent is there, but there’s a need to put it to work in the service of one’s own passions and to make the most of what’s naturally there.

    There are great moments in all Abrams’ films, and I think he has it in him to make a classic. But I’m not convinced he’s found his voice yet. As such, sex with him continues to be a frustrating tease with a few genuinely exceptional moments. Um.

  41. “It would just look like somebody holding up a fistful of spaghetti.”
    I laughed out loud. You’re in fine form, Vern. Thanks!

  42. You have to keep in mind that this is only Abrams’ 4th directorial work, if you count the LOST pilot as movie, but leave his “normal” TV episodes out. So I think it’s fair game that makes at this point “good, but not great” movies.
    Okay, maybe we expect more from him, because his name is in other positions attached to so many cool things and most of all he is allowed to helm all these big (franchise) movies, but we live in a time where every third-string music video director is allowed to handle a 150 Million Dollar comic book movie or something like that and most of them crash and burn.
    So like I said: His current track record is seriously good for a beginner.

  43. I’m a GOONIES virgin (That’s Mr. S-sex deviant talk for “I haven’t seen THE GOONIES.”), and I plan to stay that way, if only because that’ll mean there’s one more difference between me and that weirdo Paul.

  44. CJ,

    Not buying that argument. Robert Zemeckis’s 4th film was BACK TO THE FUTURE. Guillermo Del Toro’s was BLADE 2. Christopher Nolan’s was BATMAN BEGINS. Kathryn Bigelow’s was POINT BREAK. John Carpenter’s was (ugh) THE FOG, but his third was HALLOWEEN.

    Abrams is going to have to do a lot better before I start considering him one of our best mainstream filmmakers.

  45. Let’s talk about this “secret” issue. I think both Super 8 and Inception are examples where keeping the plot such a mystery backfire. You make a big deal of not revealing the plot or the creature of Super 8, but really it’s another alien coverup, or Cloverfield as many have pointed out. Inception too, we can’t give away the details of this because it’s so mind-blowing. Well, no, they’re going into dreams and executing hero redemption mission. You can say that and still sell the movie. It’s not like keeping the end of Sixth Sense a secret, people.

    Majestyk, awesome explanation of society’s standards in your first post here!

    Dan, you’re not alone. I think J.J. may be great when he’s presenting other writers’ material, but maybe not much of a writer himself. I think Star Trek really is great. And the first two seasons of Alias are awesome.

    And remember, I’m a guy who loves references, and Super 8 left me cold!

  46. You don’t have to consider him “one of our best”.I think that’s the problem, that you expect too much and want everybody to be the greatest of all time. Even Spielberg shot dozens of forgotten TV movies and SUGARLAND EXPRESS, before he made Jaws. (Somewhere inbetween was also DUEL, but I consider this his LOST pilot) Joe Dante made HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD and PIRANHA, before he made THE HOWLING.
    I don’t wanna sound like “Oh, he can’t do any better, so just be happy with his missed opportunities”, but I think it’s more realistic to expect someone to get better with time, than expecting him to be making the best movie of his generation, just on his first try and then get better and better from then on!
    Imagine he would have pulled a Tarantino and made his first film a masterpiece and then got worse and worse from then on. (I know, not a popular opinion.)

  47. Dan — You’ve got a point, but don’t you think that Abrams displays some chops that set him apart from his peers? He has yet to make a film anywhere near the level of any of those guys you mention, but I can think of at least one thing from each of his films which I genuinely love, even if I don’t love the film as a whole (and believe me, I’m not inclined to give the guy any love for its own sake — I felt for a while like the last person on Earth who was saying that STAR TREK was a servicable fun film but in no way a classic). But Philip Seymour Hoffman in MI:3? Classic. The fight on the falling drill in STAR TREK? One of the most exciting and classically staged action setpieces in years. The kids’ performance and especially their film in this one? Pitch-perfect and unusally so.

    Now, I got plenty of problems –some quite major– with other aspects of all three of those films. I think he’s likely a lousy writer as well, looking back at his filmography in some disgust. But I stand behind each one of those aspects as excellent on a level that deserves some notice and sets him apart from the pack. I figure he’s at least a Zack Snyder level talent. There’s potential there, if he can work on that level consistently and hone it a little to produce something that feels a little more authentically his voice.

  48. I just can’t see how being a “Zack Snyder level talent” is something good. If someone would call me that, I would punch him first, then thik long and hard about my career and most likely just quit and do something else, since I apparently miserably failed in what I did so far, even though it gave me some nice paychecks.

  49. Argh, wrong window. Ignore the “good night” above.

  50. “but it could’ve been a shark, an aggressive truck, an island full of dinosaurs”

    Awesome.

  51. Seriously, where the fuck is Asimov? We don’t even know what the proper Mad magazine parody title for this is yet. STUPOR NOT-SO-GR8?

  52. I haven’t seen Super 8 yet, but definitely plan to. I somehow picked through Vern’s review without exposing myself to any key details (well, nothing that I hadn’t picked up on already), and all of your comments below too. So, my point of view is really one based on expectations. I’ve gathered enough about the movie to know what Abrams hopes to achieve…..and yeah, while I hope he succeeds (replicating that mythical space that ET, etc hold), I can see how fraught it will be with difficulties.

    For one, I have to agree above, with us probably (I’m 29) not being the ideal demographic, at least superficially, for this movie. In fact, it’s a strange kind of paradox that has been created I think……this should be a movie for kids, like ET was for us, but by its very nature, this is a movie relying on the nostalgia that people exactly like us have for those movies of yesteryear, that captured what it was like to ‘really be a kid’. It’s a kind of a strange terrain, is it not? And definitely one that is probably going to be difficult to get just right, and was never going to please everybody.

    Like I said, I haven’t seen the movie yet, so that’s probably all I can say on it for the moment. But I do think that Abrams is getting a bit of an unfair kicking in some ways above. I never watched Alias…..caught a few episodes of Felicity, before I myself actually went off to college, which ironically stopped me watching it. I thought it was good, and captured the naturalistic nature of things well, he definitely had an eye for ‘how people are’. So moving on to his movies that I have seen….Mission Impossible 3, and Star Trek. I loved MI:3. Really thought it was a great film, very intelligently done and shot…and like has been said above, the guy has a great eye for spectacle, and pace…..that film pounded away, and would leave you behind if you didn’t keep your ass in gear. Nice little touches like when Hunt goes into the skycraper to get the Rabbits Foot, and it doesn’t show you shit about how he did it, just trusts you to know that it wasn’t easy. Badass….I like that shit. I also found it strangely emotionally involving….I liked how he handled how bitter and ‘non one-liner’ Luther had become. Those scenes with Cruise tied to a chair, thinking his girlfriend was being shot…..man, it all had me, 100%. Even the ending, where Cruise had to be killed temporarily….man, I was on board fully. Even though I rationally knew that he was not gonna dead forever, I still found it affecting.

    Star Trek, man, the guy stepped it up a bit more. I don’t like it as much as MI:3, but I can’t help but respect how well he pulled off what was always going to be a movie that could not help pissing off at least SOME people. I really like that movie. Could’ve done without the ‘boy kirk’ bullshit……but that’s about all. I don’t consider it a classic…..and I suppose MI:3 isn’t either, but they’re damn good movies. That may not seem like enough to call someone an auteur, and I suppose it definitely isn’t, but when we have so many crap ‘spectacle directors’ floating around at the moment, I can’t help but respect the ambition and intent that Abrams have. He may not pull it off completely every time, but even the fact that he’s so openly paying homage to Spielberg with Super 8, and the way he took the reigns of and reinvigorated Star Trek, I think he’s shown that he’s at least working from the right touch-points. Will he become an auteur? Probably not, but I do agree with one of the comments above, that he has it in him to make some damn good movies……he strikes me as a ‘learner’….he’ll increasingly get better and better, and learn from his experience and mistakes. Will that make him a true original? I dunno….but I like I said, I respect his intent. I wish some other directors had it.

  53. I can hear AsimovLives’s Scandinavian gears grinding, the rage & bile slowly becoming something Englishesque as he tries to articulate a fresh takedown of his favorite director, Jar Jar Abrams, aka JJ LameBrains.

  54. Isn’t he Portuguese? Maybe he imported his gears from Scandinavia.

    I still like Abrams. He didn’t stick the landing on this one, but he did a lot right. I’ll see his next movie.

  55. Mr Subtlety,

    That’s the thing man: nah. I’m really not seeing any special chops on Abrams part. He has some fun story ideas here and there, but I am really not on his wavelength. I thought PSH was awful in MI:3. I remember thinking the drill scene in STAR TREK was a textbook example of what Vern has now termed “post action” crap. (Although I admit that my memory is getting a little hazy). And besides the lead and the girl in SUPER 8, I found the kid characters to be whiny and obnoxious (it seemed like they spent the entire last act shouting in whiny voices. I hate kids).

    I’d say my overall opinions of MI3 and SUPER 8 are mildly positive (although SUPER 8 seems worse the more I think about it), and I genuinely enjoyed STAR TREK. Still, none of them contain what I’d call noteworthy direction.

    Maybe CJ’s right about me holding Abram’s to too high of a standard, but honestly he brought the Spielberg comparisons on himself in this case, and he doesn’t match up. And I guess I’d have to say that I feel the need to push back a little just because of how well this one has been received and how a lot of people have been favorably making the comparison. I feel kinda like people have focused on the superficial Spielbergian elements of this film and kinda totally missed or ignored that Abrams doesn’t bring anything close to Spielberg’s technical wizardry or gifts for visual storytelling to the table.

    And just to be clear: I’m not even that big of a Spielberg fan. I think the man is unreasonably gifted with an innate sense of the cinematic, but that he also squanders that gift on unworthy projects. For ever great Spielberg film there’s a comparable mediocre-to-bad one, and some mixed bags in between. So it’s not like I’m coming at this from a place of Spielberg superfandom.

    But I’m being too negative here so let me reiterate that I don’t think Abrams is a bad director, there are things I enjoy about his films and I wouldn’t call any of them bad. I am just a little perplexed at all the love he gets when he doesn’t seem to be in nearly the same league as other filmmakers of his ilk.

  56. Oh yeah, dude is Portuguese. Weird, I started to type “Portu…” and my internets device guessed & started to try to autocorrect to “Norway” for some reason, and my faulty memory’s connective tissue made me doubt everything I thought I knew about that magnificent bastard and then somehow it made sense to settle on “Scandinavian” like that would cover all my bases.

    Spambots have infected me with Digitalzheimer’s, the degenerative disease one gets from too much online typing. My TBI specialist will hear about this.

  57. vern:

    don’t do your 2001 retrospectives groups, interspersed with 2011 reviews now and then

    do a perfect shuffle of 2001, 2011, 2001, 2011, 2001, 2011, all summer long

    you can even gain some juxtaposition excitement and odd parallel thoughts from that

    2011 movies obviously have to be chronological, but 2001 movie reviews could be picked to play off the 2011 review before/ after to contrast or to highlight certain insights

    you probably already thought of this, but just my 2 cents

  58. I said I super h8 it on Twitter. Do I get any credit for that?

  59. I think you all have summed up my thoughts on this far better than I ever could have. This was my most anticipated movie of the summer(and maybe that was the problem,building it up in my head to such a level it was bound to disappoint) and I left the theater wishing I’d seen X-Men First Class instead.

    Brendan- The Host creature would have been my number one.

  60. In all fairness I have to say that Ron Eldard (and everyone else) did some good work. I think his exile after playing the blind cop should be lifted and the man should get some better stuff.

  61. I was pretty excited to see this but I think I’m going to wait for video now.

    I can ruin a good film by picking it to pieces and growing to hate it, although that depends on whether or not I bought the film to begin with. Still, it sounds like I’m running the risk of seeing a darkly lit film and having the experience ruined if the bulb isn’t bright enough. That shit annoys me and would ruin the experience.

    I like JJ Abrams. I’m a big fan of Lost, even the ending with all of its spiritual nonsense, and I really liked MI:3 (which makes me a moron, I understand) and thought the new Star Trek was a good enough movie.

    Also, I’m excited to see a movie with kids riding bikes! I remember being out riding my bike with friends all day and I don’t see any kids doing that around here. I don’t know if that’s a DC thing or not, though.

  62. Casey-I’m pretty sure those kids are all inside playing COD:Black Ops all day.

  63. Diesel, I don’t think it was a matter of expectations. You can be looking forward to something without overhyping it. I think the shortcomings of this are their own merits or lack thereof, as opposed to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where it’s really expectations that make people hate the actual result.

    Fav monsters: I really think Freddy Krueger and the Alien are something special, like in the legacy of Frankenstein special. Since then, I quite liked the Starship Troopers bugs too. Sad I can’t think of any from the last 10 years.

  64. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 15th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Yeah, this is making me sad. I honestly left this movie totally jazzed for Vern to review it because I was convinced the talkback would be a total lovefest… and unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.

  65. I think the internet ruined positivity unless it’s about low budget DTV action martial arts films starring Michael Jai White.

  66. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 15th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I will take comfort that, recognizing some of the same TOTAL non dealbreaker flaws that I did, that Vern enjoyed the movie as much as I did.

  67. I think that’s a little negative, Sternshein.

    For me, and I get the impression many here are the same way, a movie either “works” or it doesn’t for someone. If it doesn’t quite work for someone than it becomes really easy to nitpick it and increasingly dislike a movie through examination.

    It sounds like this is no different. It sounds like there are some elements that are really glaring for those that weren’t engrossed in the film but for those that did love it they didn’t care.

    It’s pretty rare for a film to be air tight and a lot of film, at least for me, comes down to my first impression and how a movie affects me and it then becomes a game of analyzing the film through that initial reaction.

  68. Nah, SUPER 8 ain’t a bad movie by any means. It just doesn’t accommodate my BADASS CINEMA sensibility to the extent I would like, and, because it features badass elements like explosions & a violent alien thing, this perceived paradoxical lack of badassness makes it grating to watch. I didn’t see any commercials or pre-release hype, so I guess it’s not excessive expectations that killed my SUPER 8 buzz. I’m glad some folks think it deserves a lovefest. For me, though, it’d be a fine movie only if I were much younger or if I had felt a sense of danger at some point after the train wreck scene.

    Favorite recent filmatic monsters: 
    -Sharktopus and most of those ridiculous ScifeEye channel monster things humor me.
    -blackened Nina Sayers

    [¡¡¡semi-SPOILER!!!] I loved the monster-like reveal shot of the shockingly muscular guy at the end of ICHI THE KILLER.  He transcends humanness and becomes a monster if you ask me, and this is my comment so fuck you jack, I just asked & answered my own question. That scene/sequence scared, wowed, disturbed, & provoked my seldom used film audience gut muscles like no other this past decade.  Twas visceral, anti-cerebral, and uniquely cathartic. Of course, while Miike managed to get that feeling out of me for 10 minutes or so, Aronofsky got that feeling out of me for most of all of his films and for every second of my first viewing of BLACK SWAN.  

  69. I think Super 8 IS a bad movie and I’ve articulated why I think so. I don’t think this is a case of being negative internetters by any means. Why would any discussion thread have to be a total lovefest for any movie, Super 8 or otherwise?

  70. As far as creatures go, I just saw Attack the Block and if they made CGI creatures that at least looked like something. I don’t know how memorable they’ll be, but at least they look like something that came from somewhere, not just a collection of stuff attached.

    Oh, and now I remember, the Tumor Baby from Hellboy II is pretty cool too.

  71. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 16th, 2011 at 12:19 am

    The cartoony two headed podrace commentators in STAR WARS PART 1 gave me a chuckle when I watched it with a full blown Star Wars lover. He turned and gave me a very dirty look and told me that these type of things are what has ruined Star Wars. Silly little man.

  72. I think you rarely see kids on bikes these days because most parents refuse to let their kids go outside, for fear that as soon as they leave their sight a mustached thick glasses wearing pervert will snatch them into his white van and haul them away never to be seen again

  73. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Exactly Griff. And to all those who say it was pointless to set this movie in ’79… I repeat… KIDS ON FUCKING BIKES!!!

    I am not going to continue to debate the pros and cons of this movie. (actually I probably will, but whatever). It worked for me. It worked for lots of others. And I do not think anyone who loved this movie is blind to its flaws, they just don’t add up to enough to hurt the overall effect it had on us. I’m bummed that it didn’t affect MORE people the same way it did me… but I’m the guy that thinks the 2003 Peter Pan is the best family fantasy movie of the decade- so I’m used to being on the other side of the fence. With my bike.

  74. Chris,

    I know I’ve been slagging on SUPER 8 a bit here, but I hope you understand that I (and I assume the other folks here who had mixed feelings about it, although I can’t speak for them) am not trying to ruin your experience of the film or anything like that. Personally speaking, the main reason I came to here to post some of my critical thoughts is not to tear the movie a new one, but because I want to debate the film with the people who liked it more than me and understand more of where they are coming from.

    I can dig why people would like the movie, but I guess I was just a little mystified as to all the love it got, with some reviewers and whatnot actually considering it a great film that matches the movies its taking its inspiration for. And I find that these boards tend to attract smart folks with reasonable opinions, so I thought it would be the best place to go to hear more of the other side.

    So by all means, continue to debate. I find it very worthwhile.

  75. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 10:05 am

    No no, Dan… Not at all. I am disappointed that it did not affect you (and others) as much as it did me (and others) but that is by no means diminishing my enjoyment of the movie. I just hoped more felt the same as me.
    If I can weather the Crystal Skull shitstorm and still enjoy that wonderful, goofy-ass movie several years later despite the online beating it took (and still takes), then nothing is going to kill my love of Super 8.

    No hard feelings at all for anyone critical of the movie or who didn’t like it as much as me. Just disappointed.

    I still wanna know where asimov is though. I actually wouldn’t mind getting into it with him over this. Ha. But I hold 90% of the post-ers here on Vern’s site in very high regard and feel no need to slag their opinions on the movie just because they differ from mine at all.

    And to clarify… I do not, for a second, think this movie is on the level of ET or Close Encounters or JAWS or any other actual Speilberg classic from that era. But 1) it is the first movie to give me even a hit of the same feelings that those did… and 2) I WOULD hold it on (or above) the level of most of the Speilberg PRODUCED favorites from that era- except Back to The Future. Nobody touches BTTF.

  76. “Nobody touches BTTF.”

    You’re a man of fine tastes.

  77. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I know The Beard’s hands were all over it, but I don’t think in the end even HE could have made such a perfect movie out of that script. Granted, Spielberg is the superior director and on paper the material was right up his alley, but that was a time when his skills behind the camera started to backslide a little bit and where Zemeckis was at the absolute top of his game (a level never to be reached again by him). Total lightning in a bottle (or in a Flux Capacitor).

  78. Back To The Future is indeed a perfect fucking movie

    when I finally re-watched it after many years on blu ray last year I was happy to see that the movie was still just as great as I remembered, it’s mainstream filmmaking at it’s absolute best and features such an airtight script it’s ridiculous

    and I think that the big problem with a lot of modern movies is not really the direction or acting, but the scripts, it seems like a lot of modern screenwriters have forgotten how to write, or never really learned in the first place, they sometimes miss pretty basic stuff like establishing the characters and making the audience actually give a shit about them

    an example I can think of off the top of my head would be Tron Legacy, a movie I actually liked but on a purely visual and musical level, the plotline for the movie was pretty muddled and confusing

  79. I would also like to add that the sequels to Back to The Future are very good too, they really work together as one really long movie

    the whole BTTF trilogy is amazing really

  80. I think BTTF2 is really underrated, a wildly complex house-of-mirrors meta-movie kind of story that keeps coming up with crazy but utterly logical shit for the entire running time. By BTTF3, the premise starts to feel kind of sweaty to me, and the fact that it’s just the first movie beat-for-beat dressed up in Old West drag is kind of a letdown after the anything-goes inventiveness of the second one. I would have preferred if the Old West was just one of the eras they visited to get the most of the concept before the trilogy ended. It would have been cool to see Hill Valley during Prohibition and the swingin’ sixties, if only for Lea Thompson’s costumes. But it’s still a decent little adventure movie, and it does end on a high note.

  81. BTTF3 is definitely the weakest of the trilogy, and I completely agree that the wild west should have been, say, just one half of the movie instead of the entire. Regardless, the film retains the charm, humor, cleverness and momentum of the previous two, and the big finale is an accomplished action sequence on par with anything else in the series. So yeah, I think it gets a bad rap.

  82. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Yeah, you are very right about the scripts Griff.
    They seem to have gotten progressively worse.
    Some great movies were able to overcome weak scripts, but they are very very few.

    Perfect example. Jurassic Park. The actual OUTLINE as far as the story and the set-pieces and characters used are great, but once you get past that it is a mess of clunky dialogue and exposition. Just cringeworthy at times.

  83. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Yet it still holds up due the direction and the pacing and the strength of the effects and the set-pieces.

  84. This is why I love this place. We can all respect each other and feel confident that when someone goes out to a movie, especially on opening weekend, they do so because they want to enjoy the film they’re going to see. I like it that people can talk about the merits of a film and be very honest about their subjective appreciation of a film also influencing their ability to care about the merits or flaws of a movie. I just think it’s great we can all be respectful and honest with one another.

    I never thought the second and third Back to the Futures were ever disliked. I think they’re all great and make for a very awesome experience. It just feels like they were made with each other in mind and the logic and characterization in the films is so consistent that I just took the trilogy as a whole and I find it hard to think of each individual part. I’ll also say this: BttF is better than the Indiana Jones series. Hell, I think it’s better than Star Wars.

    Mr Grim Grinning Chris, I totally know what you mean about being a lone advocate for a movie. My love for Speed Racer knows no bounds and I imagine it’s like your advocacy of the 2003 Peter Pan. I’ve yet to see it but I just put it on my Netflix queue just because of you.

  85. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    It’s really well written. The production design and score are fucking AMAZING and Jason Isaacs is a GOD in it. His Captain Hook is definitive as far as I’m concerned. It also has some really great kid performances as well. It’s the closest anyone’s ever come really capturing the story on film (Disney-geek though I am, I even prefer it over the animated version… which funnily enough… Disney had NOTHING to do with the live action 2003 movie, yet they still optioned its score after the fact and have used it extensively in other trailers and commericals for Disney World and Disneyland.

    Please come back and let me know what you think.

    Oh and I loved Speed Racer, so we are on even footing there. And actually, the production design and effects in Peter Pan 2003 are very similar to Speed Racer as far as the super bright colors and otherworldly feel of everything. Pay particular attention to the flight out of London and into Neverland (spoiler).

  86. What are your thoughts on Hook? I saw it as a kid and really love it. I think I mentioned this elsewhere but anyone in my age range, I’m 27, will instantly know what you’re talking about if you say “Ru-fi-o!” and I think that’s great.

    I know it gets a lot of crap when people talk about Spielberg but I can’t help but love it.

  87. Seconded that the 2003 PETER PAN was awesome and way underrated, the best version of the story I’ve seen. Not really sure why no one seemed to like that one… maybe our generation was poisoned by HOOK, one of Spielberg’s worst films yet one that a lot of people seem to fondly recall from their childhoods.

  88. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I think people WERE poisoned by Hook. That’s a movie that looks incredible on paper. The casting was great and the script was pretty spot on. Its execution was just… not good. It is a movie that I enjoy, despite its flaws… but I can honestly say that overall it is not a very good movie. My main beef is the overall handling of the Lost Boys (from costuming to characterization) and just really disliking Rufio as a character. I also didn’t care for Hoffman as Captain Hook. Really a carbon copy of the animated Captain Hook, if you ask me… which worked in an animated musical, but felt silly in live action. Actually, it is my understanding that Hook was originally to BE a musical. I’d be curious to see some of the numbers that were cut. If they were really strong I could see enjoying it more as a musical than as a straight adventure/fantasy.

    I really believed that after it hit cable and video that Peter Pan 2003 would finally find its audience and become widely beloved. It’s just never happened.

  89. I think the problem wasn’t HOOK, it was that it’s PETER PAN. Just Peter Pan. Nothing against Peter Pan, but it just looked like the same old Peter Pan, without anything special about it. Yes, there aren’t many live action adaptations of it, but you can make people watch the same story only a few times. HOOK had at least a fresh twist, with the grown up Peter, who forgot who he was.
    I’m not saying that the movie is bad. I haven’t seen it yet. You know why? I saw the trailer and thought: “Ugh, Peter Pan again?”

  90. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    CJ… Give it a shot sometime. I’m not saying to stick it in your queue right now, but if the oppurtunity presents itself, give it a whirl. I think you’ll be impressed that while it IS the “same old Peter Pan”, it totally ISN’T the “same old Peter Pan”. It is the most faithful adaptation of the story ever put on film in terms of story, tone and characterization… but its execution (though properly set in turn of the century London) is totally unique. The visuals are just amazing. The flight to Neverland, the cloud attack, the fairy dance… just gorgeous and magical.

    Oh and somehow I COMPLETELY forgot to mention an incredible Chaplin/Keatonesque dialogue-free performance as Tinkerbell by gorgeous French actress Ludivine Sagnier.

  91. Dan — damn man, I thought pretty much everyone everywhere agreed that PHS was unreasonably awesome in MI:3. Maybe it just boils down to you and JJ being on different wavelengths about what you want in a movie like that, I don’t know. I feel like he as the raw tools to do something great, but if I don’t start seeing it come together next time I may have to reconsider.

  92. Ludivine Sagnier is the only reason I rented Peter Pan. Yes, I fell in lust with her during Swimming Pool and continued to follow her even into the land of kid’s movies. But I ended up absolutely loving the movie. Really sweet and charming.

    Oh and I don’t know if shilling is allowed on this site, Vern (I’ve noticed nobody really does it, not even the bots) – but you guys should know the 6-disc Back to the Future Trilogy is $15 on BLURAY this week at Target and Best Buy. You’d be a fool not to get it.

  93. Don’t worry Chris, over the years I heard from several people that it’s a good movie. I’m already planning to watch it soon.

  94. “What is everybody’s favorite monster from the past, say, fifteen years?”

    Easy: the monster from THE HOST. The filmmakers were so confident on him they even showed him right from the start in broad daylight.

  95. I suspect my opinion of Super 8 will be very much like neal2zod. Because unlike most, evne in here, who follwoed the hip trend of the moment, i realised and know what a travestry and a terrible movie Abrams Trek is. And i know what a untalented trickster JJ Abrams is. He sure talks the talk and sells the sale, but he can’t walk the walk.

  96. I’ve seen Star Trek numerous times and aside from the poor job of editing his action sequences, I enjoy it every time.

  97. Mr. S: If there are still certain misinformed individuals who insist on ice-skating uphill by hating Gary Oldman in LEON then it shouldn’t surprise you that PSH’s masterful display of the laziness of evil has its detractors as well.

  98. Asimov is BACK

  99. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Pooper 8

  100. I will come out of lurking once again and side with Chris on this one. Not sure how much of my tear-stained face and quivering lip at the end of Super 8 had to do with my almost 50 years on this planet, but a lot of it has gotta be age related. I mean, I actually still have that Mattel Electronic Football game in a box somewhere! Yes, a “great” film should speak to all ages and classes (shouldn’t it?), but this is one where your mileage may definitely vary depending on whether you remember actually growing up during the 70’s versus only seeing a movie about the 70’s on cable or something.

    There were very few teenagers at the showing I attended. I also overheard a bunch of teen girls trying to decide what to see and Super 8 never even entered the equation (FWIW, they chose Kung Fu Panda 2 over X-Men and Bridesmaids).

    Agree that the sci-fi storyline itself was lame, reminding me too strongly of District 9.

  101. Well, I didn’t hate the flick, but I certainly didn’t love it either. Actually the only part I did like, was the kids and their movie making plot. But that’s not what the movie is supposed to be about, is it? At least there wouldn’t be the need of crazy military-tank-in-town-action and an underwhelming alien, to tell THAT story.
    I felt absolutely nothing for the alien. I just didn’t care if it will destroy the town or if the military will blow it up or experiment on it or whatsoever… I did not feel the whole alien part and that’s basically making the flick worse than almost all the 80’s movies it tries to pay homage to, like Explorers, Flight of the Navigator, Goonies, E.T., Monster Squad and so on…
    I kinda think, that it’s Abrams major weakness… he is good in developing characters and make them likable, but he still can’t manage to make a thrilling and tense flick with a nice conclusion and a smart ending. Star Trek was exactly the same, Cloverfield too (I know he was just producing it, but I take it, he took great influence, since it was his idea) and don’t get me started on the trainwreck (pun intended) that is Lost.

  102. I’d always meant to see Peter Pan too. Thanks for the reminder. It should be noted that this film was near the start of Universal’s unprecented streak of mismarketing movies. I don’t know that anyone overtly rejected the film, rather they may just not have known it was there.

    I don’t think appreciation of Super 8 is based on age. Most of us are of the age to remember the Amblin movies fondly. We’re the prime demographic, and to a lot of us it’s just ringing false. Asimov’s word “trickster” is appropriate. It’s more like a trick than an honest homage.

  103. The detractors are making me want to see this more, actually.

    I really, really, loved Lost. I really enjoyed Cloverfield. I thought Star Trek was good, too.

    I just might be on JJ’s wavelength in regards to emotions and all that other jazz.

  104. As they should, Casey. I said in the Dark Knight thread (on X-men 5 I believe), even the greatest movies should have a few detractors, as the most hated should have a few supporters. It’s not healthy to be universally praised.

  105. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 16th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Peter Pan 2003 was released in the holiday season of 2003. I figured at the time as the first holiday season in 2 years without a Harry Potter movie released that Peter Pan would kind of catch the crowd from those. And the family fantasy crowd that figured Return Of The King would be too long (gasp) and/or intense. Didn’t happen. Perhaps one day…

  106. I agree with Vern and pretty much most of the people here who voiced their issues with this movie. Not that it isn’t good, because I think we would not be this vociferous for something that was simply bad or mediocre. It’s just that Abrams starts with a good premise, executes almost flawlessly for much of the movie, bringing forth great, engaging performances from the young actors but falls short when it comes to tying up the loose ends towards the end, both emotionally and creatively.

    Agreed, the subplot with the father was weak and didn’t really earn any sort of resolution. All he did essentially was get captured, escape and then wander up to his son in the middle of a street. I felt nothing.

    Agreed also on the alien being completely just a bunch of pixels on screen. I felt nothing for it and I didn’t care about it. The fact that it had killed and eaten people, put it beyond the realm of sympathy. It’s one thing to be misunderstood; it’s another thing to really be a monster.

    The whole rescue at the end in the caves could have been done better as well. It felt like they were rushing towards just ending it and then it ended. Joe and Alice hold hands and the fathers hug their kids. The end. Just underwhelmingly trite considering how well done the opening scenes were.

    And really, you mean to tell me the kids actually went straight to the place where all those top secret documents were kept by the teacher/ex-scientist? And everything was laid out there to explain the alien? That came from absolutely nowhere. And that information didn’t have to be dumped out at the audience all at once. We could have found out about the alien over the course of the movie, what it could do, etc. instead of just hiding it in the shadows for no reason whatsoever. The alien felt almost like a tacked on element to the drama that was happening in the lives of these kids.

    It’s unfortunate that the flaws are glaring considering how much was done so right in the rest of the movie. I believe Abrams is a director who is capable of something genuinely great. All of his movies have seemlessly melded action/humor/drama/suspense together in a way that is very natural. I think his Star Trek was the best of his directoral works so far, aside from the Lost pilot. I will still keep looking out for anything that he comes up with because I know he’s capable of something special.

    And yes, I now need to check out Peter Pan.

  107. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 18th, 2011 at 1:04 am

    All this Peter Pan talk… Once Vern’s 2001/2011 summer spectacular is done, we need a Vern review so we can all discuss it in a proper forum.

  108. “That works fine for Cloverfield because he’s just a big dumb asshole stepping on your friends”

    Hahahaha my thoughts exactly!!!

    I for the record, fucking love CLOVERFIELD. I also agree with every point you made on SUPER 8. I had a similar conversation with my friend in the parking lot after the movie on how I was sorta underwhelmed by the creature’s final design. I mean, the moment I saw it, I understood. This was Abrams, and this must be the kind of shit that gave him night terrors as a kid, the similarities between Clover and Cooper or Nermal or whatever.

    There is also the remote chance that they might try to tie SUPER 8 in with CLOVERFIELD directly with a sequel of some kind. Maybe these creatures evolved on the same planet so they share some physiological similarities or whatnot. That would be pretty bad ass but a dim possibility in Hollywood of today. Overall, I still enjoyed this movie. I used the word “terrific” describing it at work this week. I also wish it had closed the deal in those last 15-20 minutes. Could have been something really special.

    Oh, saw GREEN LANTERN today, too. I…”liked” it. I liked it. I just…same case. Didn’t close the deal. In fact, sort of felt the same frustrations as I did in TRANSFORMERS. Bigger badder shit was happening out in the Universe, but our creative team kept us chained to smaller, insignificant happenings that feel like a waste of time.

    My Top 5 of 2011 so far:

    1. X-Men
    2. Rango
    3. Thor
    4. Super 8
    5. Battle: LA

  109. “Easy: the monster from THE HOST. The filmmakers were so confident on him they even showed him right from the start in broad daylight.”

    I completely agree with this. That thing was badass. The creatures from Super 8 and Cloverfield don’t even compare to it.

  110. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 21st, 2011 at 8:47 am

    The monster design and execution in The Host is great. I just think the movie is goofy as fuck and couldn’t sit through it a second time. I know people that swear by it, but I just could not get past the goofiness (and I generally LOVE goofiness). I’ve used “goofy” 3 times in this post already. I need to get out of here.

    The plant monster in Hellboy 2 was pretty amazing.
    I think my favorite movie monster of the past whatever has to be the faun from Pan’s Labyrinth.
    Fuckin Del Toro!

  111. “I believe it’s time for all the monster designers and the producers and art directors who boss them around to go on a vacation in the mountains. When they get to the top Guillermo del Toro’s gonna be there. He’s gonna go around with a whistle making them jog and do pushups. Then he’s gonna lecture them for six days about how to make good monsters. He’s gonna tell them corny anecdotes about Ray Harryhausen or some shit. Then he’s gonna poison them and they’re gonna wake up with no memory of their past work. They gotta fuckin start over because the world does not need another one of those fuckin Rancor monster ripoffs like in THOR and CLASH OF THE TITANS and it certainly doesn’t need any more of these tentacly CGI blobs in the Abrams movies.”

    This would be a pretty small boot camp. There are only ever a small handful of high profile creature designers working, which is why you sometimes get the feeling of sameyness. Take Neville Page. He is Abrams’ go-to monster guy, responsible for the CLOVERFIELD monster, the SUPER 8 monster, and the big red ice-planet monster in STAR TREK. All three of these things could be siblings, as far as I’m concerned. He also designed a lot of the creatures in AVATAR, the GREEN LANTERN corps and the PIRANHA 3D piranhas. I think he’s working on PROMETHEUS right now, I hope he doesn’t replace the elegance of Giger’s xenomorph with yet another spider-crab concoction.

  112. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Worst (high profile) monster designs of the decade:
    TIE
    1)All of the arena monsters in Attack Of The Clones- One looks like a lion with a Critters head stuck on it, one looks like a Starship Troopers holdover (but with a face) and the other one was really just a Rancor with horns on four legs.
    2)The Morlocks from the Guy Pearce Time Machine. Dear lord, that is really the best Winston Studios could come up with???

  113. I just watched Skyline and it was actually pretty good. Some twisted bastard child of Night of the living dead and Independence Day. With a truly insane ending. I have no idea why it got thrashed by the critics.

  114. You guys are all retarded the movie was just plain stupid

  115. And thus was given a glimpse into life beyond the walls of our hallowed cloister, and from thence none did ever venture forthwith into the wastelands.

  116. next thing you know we’ll wind up like Rapture from Bioshock

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