Super 8 (2011)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 49 mins

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This youthful and fast-paced thriller is set in the summer of 1979, when a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash, while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Joel Courtney

Crew: JJ Abrams (Director)

Rating: U/A (India)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Release Dates: 10 Jun 2011 (India)

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Did you know? In the Snack Shack Diner scene where the kids are talking amongst themselves about the train wreck, Deputy Lamb can be seen through the window getting out of his patrol car at the auto dealership because, as it was originally written, the diner scene and the auto dealership scene took place simultaneously but during editing the dealership scene was moved to later. Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
When the four boys are locked in the back of the military vehicle being attacked, Martin is seen clearly screaming and frantic. The very next shot shows him listening to the other talk in a relative calm way.

After the train wreck, one scene shows the car they came in has a steel or wooden beam/bar stuck into the rear wheel area and debris is piled close to the car - yet when they get in it to escape, the car is clear and they easily pull out of the lot (at around 35 mins).

When the boys break into a classroom at the school (at around 1h 14 mins), they break a window from a door and clear out all the glass. Later when the soldiers come in, the same door now has some of the glass still there (at around 1h 17 mins).

When the kids are watching the home movie it is clear they are in the projector's light but the cut to the film playing has no shadows on it (at 58:51 as Joe and Alice watch a film of young Joe).

After the train wreck, Alice's car is dirty, has something sticking through the wheel/tire, and the trunk is up. But after they've all gotten into the car and she drives away, the car is perfectly clean, there is nothing sticking out of the tire, and the trunk is closed.

Character Error
When the deputies are eavesdropping on USAF communications via radio, an airman can be heard saying Lima (as in the NATO phonetic alphabet). However, he pronounces it the wrong way, saying "LIE-MUH" (as in the Ohioan city), rather than "LEE-MUH", which is the correct pronunciation.

Errors in Geography
The movie is set in southwest Ohio. A woman mentions in a town meeting (at around 49 mins) that "Belmont County's without power". Belmont County is in eastern Ohio. Vicky tells Deputy Lamb on the walkie-talkie that Brook County is out of power (at 43:29 using the spelling of Brook County from the captions). This is a fictitious county in Ohio, however principal shooting for the film was in Weirton, West Virginia, which is on the county line between Brooke County and Hancock County in northernmost West Virginia.

Factual Mistake
The 'four months later' scene (at around 7 mins) when the kids film their movie at the depot takes place after school is out - presumably late May or early June 1979. However, the TV in the background has Walter Cronkite talking about the Three Mile Island accident (at around 28 mins), which took place March 28, 1979.

Factual Mistake
The police car lacks a partition between the front and rear seats.

Factual Mistake
The Lillian Airfield sign (at around 46 mins) shows "Town of Lillian, Ohio". In a later shot, the film shows another sign showing City of Lillian, Ohio. Ohio does not recognize any incorporated area as a town, only village or city.

The gas station employee has a Sony Walkman (at around 31 mins) - Walkmans weren't available in the U.S. until June 1980.

Just after the train wreck, one of the boys describes the small block shapes they found in the trains cargo-hold as looking "like white Rubik's Cubes or something" (at around 1 min). Originally called the "Magic Cube" in 1977, the toy company Ideal® would not rename the toy "Rubik's Cube" until it was sold in the United States after May of 1980.

The morning after the film's pivotal train wreck, Joe and Charlie are watching coverage of the story on local TV. The typeface on the screen is the now-ubiquitous Microsoft computer font Arial, most recognizable by its distinctive 'R'. However Arial was not invented until 1982 and not in broad use until after 1990. The movie is set in 1979.

In Joe's room is a model of the Space Shuttle and the external fuel tank is red/orange (at 09:35 along the right side of the frame in front of the Space Shuttle poster and again at 01:01:55). This change did not occur until the 80's as a cost saving measure. Shuttle models before this had a white tank.

An Air Force man is seen talking into a WWII-era hand-held walkie-talkie. In 1979 the military used the PRC-77 radio, which would be worn on the back and used a handset much like a telephone's.

Revealing Mistakes
During the fire scene there are several shots of rolling hills with horses (and other livestock) grazing in pastures (at 1:09:02 and 1:13:14). Horses, in particular, have a mortal fear of fire. With the impending fire, horses would have been running amok, neighing, and jumping fence rows to seek safety, not casually grazing.

Revealing Mistakes
When the Air Force weapons begin to misfire (and the kids are running through the chaos), an airman is seen yelling into a radio about the situation (at around 1h 26 mins). The radio he is yelling into is clearly not plugged in to his pack. This is obvious due to the open cannon plug on the bottom of it.
The creature's breath on Joe's hair during the final scene was actually J.J. Abrams waving a large sheet of cardboard up and down.

According to J.J. Abrams, the alien creature, when it finally meets Joe face-to-face, has the eyes of Caitriona Balfe, who plays Joe's mother.

The talented Dakota Fanning made a cameo appearance in this movie during the town hall meetingscene; for a brief second you can spot Elle Fanning's big sister among the assistants.

The director of this movie, J.J. Abrams made a cameo appearance dressed as a soldier coming out of the jeep he is driving at 01:08:15.

During post-production, Judd Apatow was shown some completed footage, which he praised as "awesome". J.J. Abrams subsequently placed Apatow in the "special thanks" section of the credits.

Jeremy Renner declined the lead role in this movie, in order to star in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011).

J.J. Abrams originally had two separate ideas for his follow-up to Mission: Impossible III (2006). One was a coming-of-age story, the other was an alien on the loose idea. It was much later in development that he actually had the idea to combine the two.

Since the kids were making a zombie movie, there are several references to director George A. Romero. For example, Romero Chemicals as the evil company, plus the poster for one of his movies in Joe's bedroom and reference on the radio.

It was very difficult for Joel Courtney to film the scene where he had to yell at Kyle Chandler (who played his father). Since Joel was naturally very quiet, J.J. Abrams had to coax him into yelling loud enough.

Approximately 5000 children were auditioned for the main parts of this movie.

In the summer of 2010, Joel Courtney visited his brother, an aspiring L.A. actor, attended one of his brother's acting classes, fell in love with acting, auditioned for a TV commercial in LA, was urged by an acting coach to answer a J.J. Abrams casting call, and after eleven call-backs landed the lead role of Joe Lamb.

The moving train was completely computer-generated, but in the shots of the kids moving among the wrecked train cars (shot at Agua Dulce 43 miles north of L.A.) the wrecked cars were actually there.

The train crash was purposely made much more sensational than a train crash would actually be. The goal was to pay homage to the science-fiction movies of the '70s.

J.J. Abrams insisted that the train station scenes were actually shot at night outside, instead of in a studio.

This movie marks the acting debut of Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths.

Steven Spielberg (a producer of the production) was reportedly on set many times throughout the course of filming. Director J.J. Abrams and Spielberg have both gone on record stating that the filming of this production was some of the most fun they have ever had on set.

The first teaser for the film was shot by cinematographer Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's frequent collaborator, months before principal photography began. Larry Fong was later brought aboard for the actual shoot.

The film according to J.J. Abrams was homage to the producer of the film, Steven Spielberg, and his films of the 1970's ranging reverence from Spielberg's directorial films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) & E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) to Spielberg's produced films like The Goonies (1985).

As teenagers, J.J. Abrams and his friend Matt Reeves (director of Cloverfield (2008) and Let Me In (2010)) were hired by a certain Steven Spielberg to restore some of his Super 8 home movies.

J.J. Abrams mentions in the DVD commentary that every time you see the water tower in the movie, it is computer generated.

The video release has a supplement called "Do You Believe in Magic?" showing DOP Larry Fong doing magic tricks for cast and crew and Tom Cruise who apparently visited the set.

The train crash was largely improvised - there was no set storyboard for this key event in the film.

Bruce Greenwood provided the motion-capture performance of the alien. He is credited in the cast list as "Cooper", which was the creature's nickname on set.

Originally, when the boys were sitting and waiting for Alice to pick them up, they were supposed to just talk. However, J.J. Abrams heard the boys singing together between takes later on, and re-shot the scene featuring them singing "My Sharona."

In the Snack Shack Diner scene where the kids are talking amongst themselves about the train wreck, Deputy Lamb can be seen through the window getting out of his patrol car at the auto dealership because, as it was originally written, the diner scene and the auto dealership scene took place simultaneously but during editing the dealership scene was moved to later.

The green Air Force fatigues with the blue name tapes and blue insignia are correct for the 1970s era the movie portrays. The utility uniform would later change to the jungle then desert BDU.

Since Elle Fanning was 12 years old while filming her driving scene, it was illegal for her to actually drive, so there is another person driving the car with a mini-steering wheel in the backseat.

J.J. Abrams named the film's fictional setting, Lillian, Ohio, after his grandmother. The map showing where runaway dogs were found shows it located on the north side of route 35 ten miles west of Dayton (twenty-two miles west of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base).

Riley Griffiths (Charles Kaznyk) played an April Fool's prank on director J.J. Abrams during filming: "On the verge of crying, I told him I had lost my script, lost it at a mall in L.A., somebody took it, and it's online. He totally fell for it... I think I might have been more scared than J.J. I was trembling."

The title 'Super 8' was a double entendre. As well as being the name of the film gauge, it was also referring to the fact that there were eight kids (Joe, Cary, Preston, Charles, Martin, Alice, Jen and Donny). Although later versions of the script were less particular about this, the title was nevertheless kept.