Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Quick Take: Super 8

I've been heads-down painting details on the Yu Jing Agent (Pheasant) and had to take my eyes out of the magnifying lenses for a bit, so I decided to post a quick review of the movie "Super 8". I watched it last night and would give it a 3 out of 5 stars (or whatever).

I can't really get excited about the film. Fairly well written, fairly well acted, fairly well get the idea. The main character is a young boy who builds model kits as a hobby, so odds are if you are reading this, you'll get a kick out of that aspect of the story. The most noteable performance is by Elle Fanning. Not much of a spoiler when I sum up the plot by saying "ET with a vengeance". There are some sub-plots that don't add much to the story, and most of the characters are pretty 2 dimensional. It's a Summer "blockbuster", not a Merchant/Ivory flick, so no surprises there.

There were a few cute lines that made me laugh, but overall I just couldn't get too into the movie. The "student film" that is the namesake of the movie runs during the credits, and that's worth seeing. One thing I'll say about the cinematography; J.J. Abrams sure does love his lens flare effect. He went overboard on Star Trek and shows his affection for the flare in Super 8 as well. Dude- stop it.

On a side note, I went to see this movie at the AMC Theater in Tysons Corner, VA and was keenly aware of the dim quality of the picture. Having to pay extra for a digital showing and then having to squint is not my idea of good value. Why do I bring this up? You may not be aware, but AMC uses Sony 3D digital projectors which have been retro-fitted with updated hardware to be albe to show 2D films as well. Problem: AMC Theaters do NOT switch lenses when they switch between media types. So when you see a 2D digital film at an AMC, you are watching a movie that is losing about 50% of its luminosity due to the fact that the image is being split by the 3D lens. Don't believe me? Feel free to check online for the info (example). Want to know how to confirm that they're using the "wrong" lens? Look up at the projection booth...if you see 2 distinct images behind the're getting screwed over.


  1. Did not know that about the 2D vs 3D projector. Sounds like a rip.

    We saw Super 8 on their IMAX screen. Does the same thing apply for that projector.

    Overall it was a good popcorn, blockbuster movie. I would give it 4/5 from that perspective but definitely agree as a "film" it is 3/5 (or maybe 2.5).

    Enjoyable and one I would re-watch at home once or twice... but no District 9!

    Essentially this was Goonies meets Alien but with a feel good ending.

  2. From what I have read, the projectors in question are specifically the Sony 4K models. IMAX uses different hardware. I've now seen Super 8, Fellowship of the Ring, and On Stranger Tides projected with the Sony 4K using the wrong lens. All of them looked very dark. I'm done with AMC digital.