Paramount Pictures and JJ Abrams presented 22 minutes of unfinished footage from Super 8 to the New York City press on Wednesday. I’ll be checking out the footage next week at CinemaCon (so expect my thoughts then), but I thought I’d give you a round-up of the reactions from around the web.. I think we can all agree that footage descriptions and spoilers are not of interest for this film. I’ve included excerpts of just the reactions/impressions, minus details. Hit the jump to find out what people thought of the footage.
Cinematical: “packed a strong punch, though, expertly blending heart, humor, thrills, chills and one holy-cow train-wreck sequence. The kids are instantly likable and make for a fun, familiar ensemble, and, yes, the expected lens flares are there too). Sure, there’s plenty more that makes a feature-length movie, but if the other 70-or-so minutes play like that, we’re sold big time.”
FirstShowing: “Many fans have been waiting to see if the movie has more subsistence than just paying homage to the Steven Spielberg sci-fi classics of the 70′s and 80′s, and after seeing a good 20 minutes of footage, it unquestionably does. To me, it seems like Abrams has already created a movie that could be a classic, but without first taking us on an incredible adventure this summer.”
CinemaBlend: “I was thrilled by how well-directed the action was. Even though Abrams swears the train crash sequence is way too long, it’s got an economy of pacing and especially staging– you know exactly where everyone is at every moment of the action sequence, a rare thing in these times of quick-cutting and total chaos.”
Shock Till You Drop: “…we’re reminded of movies like The Goonies or Stand by Me. ” … “The footage really looked great–abundant lens flair and all!–though Abrams warned us that the FX weren’t finished, and though he also said it was mainly temp music, the use of tunes from the times like Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” “My Sharona,” and the Cars really helped create the feel of 1979, the year in which we were told the film takes place.”
Collider: “The vibe is very Goonies in all the right ways — these kids Abrams have found are pitch perfect. They talk like 14-year-olds, they act like 14-year-olds. They’re dynamic is fun loving and they’re having a ball making this zombie movie.” … “worries that Super 8 would rely purely on nostalgia can be washed away. What’s great about the parts of the film we’ve seen are the kids, their tangible characters and how much that matters to the action. Yes, expect some big set pieces in Super 8, but plan on being emotionally invested before you get there. Joe and the gang are goofballs like we all were as kids and if there’s any nostalgia, it’s not for old movies — it’s for childhood itself. Oh, and expect lots and lots of lens flare.”
FilmStage: “The Abrams touch is there, including extravagant lighting design, but this a much more subdued style of filmmaking. There isn’t the constantly moving camera as seen in Star Trek. Like the 70s and 80s films he is embracing, Abrams is able to keep it still and patient during dialogue scenes.” … “Abrams said he chose this kids, who are mostly non-actors, because they reminded him of the film-loving geek he was growing up. It couldn’t have been more perfect casting. As they set up the scene, exchange after exchange reminded me exactly how I acted as a kid goofing around with a camera. There is a certain moment with Elle Fanning‘s character that is some of the most brilliant character development you’re likely to see this year. ”
UGO: “Every time I re-watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind I’m floored by how great the kids are. And that’s the vibe I get here.” … “I’m dead center in the nostalgia demo for Super 8. I saw E.T. seven hundred times in the theater and, I’m not lying, this movie brought me back hard.”
HitFix: “the tone of these small-towners feels genuine, and as Abrams indicated, it was intended to be that way. Casting for these teens wasn’t culled from preened “Hollywood kids,” but newcomers who had “never been on a set,” to embody what it is to be that age in a dusty, do-nothing Ohio town.” … “Super 8 feels like a genuine mystery is afoot, and taking the audience back to their more innocent days seems like a wise move to get the detective work started. The style is “super” colorful even during a scene shot in a drab bar, and the usage of light seems all-important. (A couple shots reminded me of the slogan on Abrams’ t-shirt from “Angry Naked Pat”: “I (Heart) Lens Flare”.):
Joblo on Twitter: “Super 8 will be everything you want it to be and then some. I had actual goosebumps watching the extended train crash sequence.”
Click on any of the above links to read more, although be warned that you could encounter scene descriptions and possibly spoilers.