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go play outside Skyler
Nov 7, 2005

J. J. Abrams makes a splendid hommage to Spielberg's 70's and 80's Science Fiction films such as Close Encounters, E.T. and even Poltergeist. I feel this movie is flawless in terms of filmmaking. It knows how to keep the audience on the edge of their seat by progressively letting us know what is going on and making us connect with the heroes on an emotional level.

We follow a group of young (~13 years old) children that want to make a zombie film using their Super 8 camera. That movie-in-a-movie subplot is an hommage to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and fans will love the callbacks to some famous scenes from that movie. The fact that we see the events from the point of view of a child makes it even more intriguing as a whole, and I think that was a really great decision. Children are deep-down innocent, not understood by adults, and not evil, much like the alien in this movie.

The movie starts off with a bang. We really are clueless as to what's happening, this is your typical first-person narrative. The audience does not know (much) more than the heroes and this really adds a whole "mystery" dimension to this film which, if you enjoyed Close Encounters, will keep you interested all the way through. The main plot is pretty standard: we are introduced to a kid who has just lost his mom in a terrible accident at a factory. He his struggling to connect with his father and the events that follow will force them to try to understand each other better. There's also some kind of romantic story involved but I won't go into details in fear of spoiling it for the rest of you.

The special effects are, to my eyes, perfect. Not once have I thought that something looked out of place. The train accident, which we've all seen in the trailers, was one of the most intense crashes I have ever seen in the history of cinema. The rest of the special effects are mostly non-intrusive, and the movie does not rely on them for storytelling. This makes it a truly immersive experience, and some scenes are just epic.

Overall, I think this is a movie worth seeing again and again, and is probably the best Science-Fiction film of 2011. This isn't your usual "summer blockbuster".



Prog Rug
Feb 23, 2011

I think the main problem with this film is the science fiction stuff. It seems to be a completely separate story from the main group of kids making their movie. The characters involved in the alien plot are not fleshed out and there is a miscommunication between the movie and audience about who should they should care about. For example the movie starts showing the Alien as a tragic character and we are supposed to feel sorry for it, but then a scene later we see it eating a person.Even the Alien itself is a letdown; the movie spend a good portion of the film hiding the Alien from sight only to have a very reveal. It just seems that the science fiction elements should have been there to aid the story of the kid's movie instead of being treated as a main story line.

That said the plot with children making the movie is fantastic. It has great dialogue, the characters are fully fleshed out, and the plot itself is very heartwarming and rewarding You get to see the film they made at the beginning of the ending credits
It also helps that this is one of the best cast of child actors in a very long time and they so much to their story.

Also a quick nod to the cinematography and special effects, which were both very impressive.

Overall this movie should have only been about the kids but unfortunately got a half assed Military Vs Alien plot attached to it. Still it's worth your and you should come out of the theater feeling like you didn't waste 112 minutes of your life.

Sep 11, 2001

We go play orbital catch around the curvature of the earth, son.

What I loved about the movie especially was a little ways through I began to work out that the 'joke' of the movie - that everyone around the protagonist were turning from real life people into archetypes from films. Like the kid's life was becoming the most awesome real-life movie ever. Basically during the train crash, the world transitions from reality to movieland.

No one is left out. Even the stoner guy gets to become a Cheech & Chong drug humor archetype from that time period of movies as well. The effect makes it feel like you are participating in what is going on, and you're up there with the characters, getting to take part in this transformation into movie archetypes. Few movies have that kind of exciting participatory feel these days. I left the movie afterwards feeling as though I'd just gone through the experience with my own family and close friends.

My only major gripe was I would have wanted a deeper interaction between the characters and the alien, given how much we were meant to empathize with it. I wanted something a bit more satisfying.

Anyway I really enjoyed it a lot. I am happy to report that the movie is still very entertaining on multiple viewings. Especially since you can look for and spot more of the film homages. The A+ heartfelt acting of the entire cast makes me smile every time.


Spacedad fucked around with this message at Aug 22, 2011 around 08:46

Sep 25, 2003

Charming, friendly, and possessed by demons.
Approach with caution.

I wasn't as satisfied with this movie. I felt like it was a movie made by movie insiders for movie insiders. I can see how it's a functionally great movie -- there is phenomenal acting by the children and every shot seems like it's absolutely the perfect angle and best that shot could have been -- and why critics love it. From a purely technical standpoint, it's almost perfect.

But I couldn't shake the feeling that I've seen this movie before. Everything seemed to be just another well-worn trope from some other movie. Or a shot from another movie, just executed that much better. It didn't feel fresh, it didn't feel new, and it didn't really keep me entertained. It's tough to criticize the movie because so much of it is spot on perfect, but for me, it just highlighted the fact that the story felt old and the scenes felt recycled.

Maybe I'm just expecting too much.

3/5 : Give me a perfect story to match the perfect film making.

mysterious frankie
Jan 11, 2009

*smokes vigorously*

A Spielberg film, done better than even Spielberg can do them these days. Plus, an original story? Full of characters I don't want to beat to death with a chair leg? In a big budget Hollywood outing? What? How can this be?


The one true heezy
Mar 23, 2004

Very refreshing throwback to the kind of Sandlot adventure stories that makes kids seem smarter and cooler than they really are. Not that The Sandlot started the genre, but it's what I grew up with. There are some absolutely gorgeous shots in this movie!


Mar 21, 2010

Stand By Me meets Signs. Personally, not in a good way. It's a well shot film, but as mentioned it's so predictable and trope-ish that it feels like a movie you watched while intoxicated and can barely remember.

For me, the story was the big disappointment. There are really two stories at work, one being actual sci fi and the other being the relationships of the kids. The first wasn't fleshed out enough to deserve it's own movie and the other is a tired genre of story which I would not have watched on it's own merits. The worst part about the movie is how often it leaves you hanging wishing there was more to it. When the credits rolled, I had questions that arose not because of unsolved mysteries, but just because every single part of the plot was wrapped up in about the most unsatisfying way imaginable.


Sep 16, 2002


A lemon pie, when done right, will have a soft merengue ontop of a custardy lemon mix, in a seamless interface. Mostly though, they separate, for a number of reasons. This is how I felt the sci-fi and drama elements of this film failed to complement.

It's a Spielberg tribute as far as I am concerned. E.T. and Close Encounters meet My Girl and Stand by Me, with J.J. Abrams trademark lightning and photography. Because of this the point of the movie pertains to family, emotions and growing up. Immensely predictable and cliche, ou'll figure out the ending at the 20-something minute mark. If you hate Spielberg films this isn't going to change your mind. I'll talk about the cosmetics instead.

What irked me the most was how the monster effects were handled. Sure, you are introduced to this "q" mystery, and it is related to "z" objects, that had to do with that "p" thing that happened years ago with that guy. Just show me the boogie man; not so. It is immensely annoying how it drags on. "Oh sure, the thing can eat a car, grab people, smash trhough walls, is apparently not pretty and walks on all 4", and it goes on and on until the very end.

It's the same retarded delayed suspense that was present in War of the Worlds.

The score was awful. Strings and horns all throughout the film, any chance of menace or mood set by the alien creep killed before they are born. I should hope they release a scoreless version somewhere in the future, I'd watch it for sure.

The kids were OK. It's the kind of light-hearted, funny and smart acting that doesn't rub any wrong spots. Pity you get the same tired cookie-cutter military goons and henchmen, but then, this is appealing to movies like E.T. so you expect that, kind of.

2/5 for the movie, and a 5/5 for the kids' festival project film which airs as the credits roll.

Ka0 fucked around with this message at Dec 24, 2011 around 23:18

Nov 7, 2011

My favorite movie of 2011.

While it does falter a bit in parts (mostly in the last 20 minutes or so), it's still a fantastic film; mostly due to the cinematography, and the amazing performances from the young cast.

It really is a credit to the cinematography that during the train crash and at the very last shot that my jaw literally dropped. Both those scenes were absolutely gorgeous.

Acting wise, there wasn't anything special from the adults, but the kids all turned in terrific performances. Of special note was Elle Fanning's character rehearsing her lines early on before they started shooting. For the longest time I was fairly annoyed by both the Fanning sisters, but through performances like that, they both have really grown on me, and seeing either of them in the cast is now a plus for getting me in the theater. Also, the scene where the kids are sitting in the diner talking about what happened the night before. What really stood out to me in that scene was the dialogue, and how it actually felt like how kids talk, not like a screenwriter trying to make them sound "hip". It's a credit to both the writing and the performances that most of the interaction scenes between the kids felt that way, very organic and actually "real".

The only major points that the movie falters on are near the end where you start to lose sympathy for the monster, and when you finally see the monster up close, it does look fairly hokey. But it's nothing that hurt the rest of the movie to any major level.


Jan 8, 2007

Stand By Me meets ET/Cloverfield. The strong friendship the group hold, as well as their childish innocence make for an amazing end credits, which happens to be the best part of the film. In turn, the alien which is just misunderstood was a promising story too; even though it switched several times between being kind-hearted and brutal.

The rest of it is a real drag; two potentially great movies combined into wanting two hours of my life back. Worst of all, just as in Cloverfield, is having to bear the disappointment of seeing the alien. Something with so much hype and suspense driven behind it is rarely going to live up to the expectation, and this suitably disappoints.


Sep 22, 2005


I'm glad I stopped following the ARG/Super8 thread in CD long before I saw the movie. I loved the movie - as much as I loved ET, Cloverfield, Close Encounters and War of the Worlds '05 (fucktons).

While watching the movie, I didn't catch any plot holes, didn't think the adult acting was shabby, never stopped to consider the alien's motivation or thought process behind who he attacked or who he patiently listened to. Why? Because the drat movie was fun as gently caress.

If the movie put more effort into trying to be a serious flick instead of Young Indiana Jones Meets The Alien, the plot holes and odd monster logic probably would bug me. But the movie isn't that. It's like the Goonies - that action level of "hey wait that made no sense/WATCH OUT THERE'S A TANK ABOUT TO BLOW UP!"

So there. The action, the shockers, the monster and the kids acting were able to completely hide any flaws I would have with a monster alien movie. Cloverfield tried to be serious and make lots of sense of it all, and came pretty close. This movie was not trying to be serious, which made it easy to suspend disbelief.

5/5 because just drat.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2012 around 17:37

Fister Roboto
Feb 21, 2008

Fully functional and programmed in multiple techniques.

I was enjoying the movie until they introduced the Air Force guy who was so cartoonishly evil it hurt. It seemed like his only purpose was to make you empathize with the alien (who kidnaps and eats people and completely wrecks the town on his way out, but you see he was tortured by bad men so that makes it okay). The kids' acting was better than I expected and the train wreck was really cool, but other than that it felt like a boring rehash of every other alien encounter movie out there. 2/5


Jul 16, 2006

Like a fist wrapped in blood...

This movie is a throwback to the era of early 80s sci-fi, and succeeds very well at the beginning. There are some even some really effective moments, especially the romance building between the two lead characters. However, it starts to devolve into increasingly convoluted scenarios in the second half, as well as way too many winks at the camera over the cultural and technological state of things at the period it takes place in. The relationship between the kids and the alien also feel pretty forced.


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