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Super 8 (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

96






Studio and Year: Paramount - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 111 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Kyle Chandler, Jessica Tuck, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Glynn Turman
Written & Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 22, 2011







"It Arrives…"



Film Synopsis:

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg join forces in this extraordinary tale of youth, mystery and adventure. Super 8 tells the story of six friends who witness a train wreck while making a super 8 movie, only to discover that something unimaginable escaped during the crash. They soon discover that the only thing more mysterious than what it is, is what it wants.



My Take:

I didn’t catch Super 8 during its theatrical run but my teenage son did and he really liked it. I am fan of J.J. Abrams work and find that he is quickly establishing himself as a staple among today’s top tier filmmakers. I grew up not only in the Super 8 home movie era but was very close to the age of the kids depicted in the story’s time period. It’s clearly obvious that Super 8 was a project near and dear to Abrams’ heart. The film is an eclectic genre piece with an evocative narrative that is rich in earthy context and wonderfully executed to have the look/feel of imaginatively stirring films of yesteryear. The plotline revolves around a circle of middle school aged friends with an interest in making a Super 8 zombie film. They reside in a small steel town where essentially everyone works at the mill and knows everyone else. The script is made up of a series of subplots, two involving familial dysfunction, that primarily involve the junior filmmakers. While filming their movie in the middle of the night at the local train station the kids witness a train crash/derailment. It is after this that the focus shifts to the mystery surrounding the train crash, its unusual cargo, and a sudden flurry of “classified” military activity that is followed by reports of missing persons, animals and peculiar sightings. The smaller dramatic subplots continue to revolve around the mystery as the kids decide to investigate the strange goings on which are beginning to escalate.

At times it reminded me of Stand by me, E.T, and The outer limits but there is also a wonderfully innate sense of modern era suspense that compliments the throwback science fiction/small town/monster movie concept. The blend works extremely well and makes for a nostalgically rich yet contemporarily executed film. I thoroughly enjoyed the classic take on the building storyline and the wonderfully drawn young characters that carry it. The adults featured in the story are integral but retain a supporting presence that doesn’t interfere with the elements derived from seeing things from a youthful and imaginative perspective. As the story build to its conclusion we have not only established a viable connection to the primary characters but an empathetic understanding of who, what, where and why regarding the mystery that has taken hold of an entire community. Super 8 is a rewarding sci-fi drama that is lots of fun to watch. It features a terrific ensemble of young actors supported by a noteworthy cast of character actors. Writer/director J.J Abrams does a marvelous job bringing this imaginative, evocative and compelling film to the big screen. It is reminiscent of the old school filmmaking of a bygone era that clearly hasn’t lost its appeal. I can’t wait to watch it again.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 96



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699




Video: 96


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Super 8 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.

This is a reference quality high definition transfer that looks spectacular. Images are crisp with subtle refinement, resolute sharpness and exquisite dimensional perspective. Contrast is well balanced and dynamic which energizes colors and empowers whites/grays. Blacks are rich, noise free and gradational. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveals discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds/objects. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among those within the varied range used. Fleshtones are natural with subtle description and warm complexional highlights. Grain is rendered via a light, filmic, textural presence that presides over the presentation without intrusion. I found this to be an impressive and pristine quality high definition video presentation from Paramount.

Having not heard this soundtrack before, I had no idea what it to expect. Listening to it made for an impressive aural experience as this is a superb Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtrack from Paramount. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, head turning directional correlation and seamless integration of the front and rear soundstages. The mix makes regular use of the surround channels to extend the front soundstage to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this engaging soundtrack. There are sequences where the listening position is submerged in a 360 degree web of sound that is infused with a combination of sound effects/ambience that can be engrossing especially when the action kicks in. The audio’s low frequency effects are applied authoritatively to underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of the presentation and it does so quite effectively. Its palpable presence is never in question as it fills the room with refined bass that is appreciably tactile. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers but didn’t warrant a deduction.

Several sequences lit up my room but the train crash absolutely rocks! It comes on quickly and doesn’t last long but it is one of the most intense, all encompassing and seismic surround experiences I have had in my theater room. Smaller less bombastic events, such as the creature assault on the bus/transport and the out of control tank fire sequence are underscored by palpably rich low frequency transients and room traversing sound effects. This is a sophisticated sound design that excels at balancing the opulent blend of sounds/effects contained in the soundtrack. The result is a three dimensional soundscape that seamlessly blends with the events onscreen. Super 8 isn’t an action film however this audio presentation masterfully reproduces every aspect of its soundtrack and makes for a supremely enriching home theater experience.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary by J.J Abrams, Larry Fong, and Bryan Burk

  • (HD) Featurettes:

    1. The dream behind Super 8 – 16 minutes
    2. The search for new faces – 17 minutes
    3. Meet Joel Courtney – 14 minutes
    4. Rediscovering steel town – 18 minutes
    5. The visitor lives – 12 minutes
    6. Scoring Super 8 – 5 minutes
    7. Do you believe in magic? – 4 minutes
    8. The 8mm revolution – 8 minutes

  • Deconstructing the train crash – interactive feature that follows the scene from pre-production, to production, to post production

  • (HD) 14 deleted scenes

  • Bonus DVD of Super 8

  • Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Super 8 comes from the mind of writer/director J.J. Abrams and features an eclectic genre mix highlighted by an evocative narrative that is rich in earthy context and wonderfully executed to have the look/feel of imaginatively stirring films of yesteryear. It comes to Blu-ray Disc via a strong technical offering that features reference quality audio/video that is sure to please discerning home theater enthusiasts. The accompanying supplemental package is comprised of a series of production featurettes that contain cast/crew interviews, a look behind the scenes, deleted scenes and an informative audio commentary that are all worth checking out. Super 8 is high level entertainment that shouldn’t be missed. Enjoy!









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 91
Thanks for the review.

I did see this on the Imax and the booming sounds were the most direct (surround sound wise) and very noticable than any others I have ever heard to date.

I also grew up in rural Indiana in that time frame, and I was not disappointed in going to see the movie just on this reason alone.
post #3 of 91
Sounds pretty fun, thanks for the review!
post #4 of 91
Great review Ralph--this movie as with the Harry Potter finale are the two movies I am anxiously awaiting to add to my library! I too am a big fan of JJ Abrams.
post #5 of 91
Ralph,

How does the train crash scene compare to the mid-air collision scene in Fight Club? That has to be one of my favorite audio moments on BD.

Thanks,
Vamsi
post #6 of 91
Any film with My Sharona is good by me!
post #7 of 91
Too bad that this movie was a total letdown for me personally. The movie sounded epic, but the aliens and the lame story kills it IMHO.
post #8 of 91
I will definitely have to check this out on Blu-ray without interruptions.

My theater had the sound set in a way that treble was ear-piercingly loud, and some drunk guy walked in during the middle of the film yelling out expletives.
post #9 of 91
Sometimes it makes me think this is the prequel to Cloverfield.

I'll still buy this only because of the score since it's reference material. Storywise and premise is somewhat stale.

Cheers
post #10 of 91
the film's plot definitely felt like ET to me but a way better executed form lol. The train crash was epic
post #11 of 91
I generally liked it and agreed it did capture that era fairly well (I also grew up in that era), but the one thing that struck me as odd was how the script had the kids as foul-mouthed as they were. I am no prude about things like that, but it felt like a lot of the language was not character or plot driven but just tossed in (perhaps to make it seem more "modern"....kind of odd in a throw-back film). The actors were great in their roles and a few choice words when something truly amazing or frightening happens would have been more realistic. By overdoing that aspect, it seemed to undercut the power of some of the scenes.

Oh, but Elle Fanning is going to be as big a star as her sister. She is a tremendous actress!
post #12 of 91
Another great review Ralph,

I haven't seen this one yet but I have read several positive reviews. A friend of mine wife played an extra in this movie. Some or all of this movie was shot in Weirton, West Virginia along the Ohio river. Paramount came into my home town located 30 miles from where the film was shot to buy or lease old business signs to use in the shoot. Big news here in a small town....
post #13 of 91
Ralph nails it as always .. looking forward to this one ..
post #14 of 91
Will be adding this to the collection- good review Ralph!
post #15 of 91
The crash defies the laws of physics. The escape made you wonder why wait till then. The lame plot left me wanting. The overall feel of adults not knowing anything and the military stupidity, comeon. Elle Fanning a very good up an coming actress. The ending --- yeah sure. That is a few of my thoughts on the film. Could have and should have been better considering the director , budget, etc. Worth a watch but that is all. Just my 2 cents.
post #16 of 91
Looking forward for this one. Thanks for the great review. D-Box is going to rock on this one too.
post #17 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroatl View Post

Too bad that this movie was a total letdown for me personally. The movie sounded epic, but the aliens and the lame story kills it IMHO.

QFT! The story involving the monster was very poorly thought out and just sucked the life out of what could have been a great movie with a nostalgic touch reminiscent of E.T and The Goonies. Instead I love the characters and hate the story, leaving me at a point where I don't care if I ever see it again.
post #18 of 91
I actually went to this expecting to see a monster movie...well, I guess there technically was a monster/alien but you wouldn't know it. Practically every scene with said monster is dark so you can't make out the details. The alien mainly seems to operate at night or in dimly lit caves.
It wasn't a bad movie but I won't be buying the blu-ray.
post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Busa View Post

I actually went to this expecting to see a monster movie....

I watched Psycho expecting to see some knife poking....
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroatl View Post

Too bad that this movie was a total letdown for me personally. The movie sounded epic, but the aliens and the lame story kills it IMHO.

I'm not much of a writer, but the only thing on my mind after watching this movie was registering an IMDB account just to express how terrible I thought it was. Ralph is usually bang on and has a wide range of tastes it seems as do I, but man this movie is bad. I somehow find enjoyable things in most movies I watch, but this is one of the rare ones I was angry at myself for wasting that much time of my life. JJ Abrams is on a semi-permanant ban list for me now.
post #21 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpn75 View Post

Ralph,

How does the train crash scene compare to the mid-air collision scene in Fight Club? That has to be one of my favorite audio moments on BD.

Thanks,
Vamsi

Greetings,

The train crash isn't as jarring but it hits hard and lasts longer..

Regards,
post #22 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyj2 View Post

I'm not much of a writer, but the only thing on my mind after watching this movie was registering an IMDB account just to express how terrible I thought it was. Ralph is usually bang on and has a wide range of tastes it seems as do I, but man this movie is bad. I somehow find enjoyable things in most movies I watch, but this is one of the rare ones I was angry at myself for wasting that much time of my life. JJ Abrams is on a semi-permanant ban list for me now.

Greetings,

Ouch! Sorry to hear that Jimmy..

Regards,
post #23 of 91
I hated this movie.
post #24 of 91
wow the movie is inciting some harsh words here hahah
post #25 of 91
Hmm seems like this one is a love it or HATE it, but from Ralph's stellar review I will give it a rent.
cheers
post #26 of 91
While I agree that it's hardly original, I enjoyed it due to the great job the child actors did in each of their performances. I saw this in the theaters with my two kids and they really liked it a lot because it was a "new" type of story for them.
post #27 of 91
Loved it. Day one.
post #28 of 91
Weird to see this one getting so much hate. Did people really prefer most of the crap that came out this summer over this? This isn't a movie about an alien in the same way that Jurassic Park wasn't a story about dinosaurs. It's a story about the characters. That's what made so many of Spielberg's movies great and that's what I think is great about this one. Maybe some people see a lame movie about an alien stuck on earth, but I see a movie about a young boy dealing with the loss of his mother and a father trying to learn to deal not only with losing his wife but trying to learn how to connect with his son. There are movies that just have this type of drama in them. For this reason they are called dramas. This is like a drama with CRAZY ALIEN AWESOMENESS thrown in for the funsies.
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

wow the movie is inciting some harsh words here hahah

I haven't seen this yet, but plan on buying on release day. It seems those who liked the film are, like me, from the era depicted. One of my friends, who is the same age, saw it and loved it. I would bet many of those who dislike the film don't have a frame of reference for the time period depicted.

'Trick or Treat' is another film that has a divided audience. For many of us, it looked just like our hometowns during Halloween. It was a time when kids went "un-escorted" and stayed out till midnight. That may not translate as well to those who's memory of Halloween is 4-6pm at the local mall.

My longwinded point being: Nostalgia is a powerful emotion.

Art
post #30 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Hmm seems like this one is a love it or HATE it, but from Ralph's stellar review I will give it a rent.
cheers

I'm not sure this is really a love it or hate it movie judging from the scores on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. IMDB has it as 7.3 with over 77K ratings and Rotten Tomatoes has it at 3.8 with almost 100K ratings. Additionally, 78 percent of audience liked it and 82 percent of critics. So it seems more like a case of someone who just didn't like it--which is certainly not unusual. Personally, I can't wait to get my copy from Amazon.
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