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J.J. Abrams Talks SUPER 8, Spielberg And STAR TREK 2 With Mr. Beaks!

When J.J. Abrams's SUPER 8 was announced last year, it was described as "an interpretation of [Steven] Spielberg's earlier films, but done in a personal way." Eight months later, the first theatrical trailer brought the Spielberg with a called-shot audacity; with its Amblin logo, lens flares and adventuring kids, SUPER 8 looked like an exhilarating return to the golden age of summer blockbusters when The Beard reigned supreme. The only remaining question: could Abrams deliver a story as profoundly affecting as the trailer's throwback imagery?

For anyone who got bit by the movie bug early in life, the hook of SUPER 8 is irresistible: what if, while making a no-budget horror film, a group of kids stumble into a real-life horror film? Once you get past Abrams's mystery-box showmanship, this is the personal connection for the director. Long before he was creating popular TV shows or reinvigorating flagging franchises for Paramount, Abrams was just another teenage geek with a DIY filmmaking dream; it just so happens that Abrams's formative 8mm works screened at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles and drew the attention of the world's most popular director. But extreme good fortune aside, the impulse to project one's crazy flights of imagination on the big screen should be familiar to every reader of AICN. Combine this with a heartfelt coming of age story, and SUPER 8 is, conceptually, as accessible as anything Spielberg ever concocted.

When I interviewed Abrams a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to learn how a film about young movie geeks grew into a sci-fi/horror spectacular, and to what extent his one-time mentor, Steven Spielberg, helped shape the narrative. Though Spielberg has declared SUPER 8 Abrmas's "first real film", it's still clearly evocative of everything from JAWS to such Amblin-produced classics as GREMLINS. Was it a matter of cherry-picking the best elements of these movies, or did the narrative just naturally incorporate these familiar tropes? And how difficult was it to keep these plates spinning on set while having to manage a young cast comprised of several first-time actors?

I only got a tight fifteen minutes with Abrams, so we didn't get to delve too deeply into any of this, but he still had plenty of interesting things to say. There are no real spoilers in the below Q&A, but your threshold may differ from mine, so tread carefully (or wait until after you see the movie this weekend).

With that out of the way, here's J.J.!


Mr. Beaks: We've been so fixated on the marketing for this film. The trailer evokes 1985 or '83, and that Spielberg-Amblin feel. But it's set in 1979, which is before the films it's referencing. Why did you choose that specific time?

J.J. Abrams: '79?

Beaks: Yeah.

Abrams: Well, the movie is about kids making Super 8 films, and the era of the '70s felt like a more appropriate time for the movie - even though it was definitely on the cusp. You definitely had some significantly bad hair in that year as well. But the feeling of the movie always felt more like a late '70s movie than an '80s film.

Beaks: Why was that?

Abrams: It might be because when I was around that age, that's what year it was. But I wanted to make it when these kids were on the verge of young adulthood, and if I'd set it in a different time - even a few years forward - it would've just skewed it more into the '80s. It was a time period that I was probably most familiar with at that particular age.

Beaks: What inspired your interest in filmmaking?

Abrams: I went to Universal Studios when I was eight years old with my grandfather, and had never really seen any behind-the-scenes moviemaking. I never knew that was a way to live or a potential job. And it suddenly seemed like the coolest thing in the world, because it was basically doing magic tricks. I was basically this kid who was always obsessed with magic, and the idea of making movies always felt like an extension of that to me. That was when I got excited about doing it, and started making super 8 films at that age. I sort of did that through high school.

Beaks: Did your involvement in a DIY horror film like NIGHTBEAST have any influence on SUPER 8?

Abrams: My involvement in NIGHTBEAST didn't have an impact on SUPER 8, but the spirit with which NIGHTBEAST was made, a film by Baltimore horror filmmaking legend Don Dohler... that movie was made in the same spirit as a lot of people - kids and adults - made films in the '70s and '80s, and even now. You're inspired by movies you love and genres you love; you try to express yourself, and make movies that feel of that same ilk. I know that Don Dohler certainly didn't have the resources or cast or crew that a lot of Hollywood films had. They made those movies because they loved them. That was certainly the spirit with which I made my films when I was a kid. Did you make movies when you were growing up?

Beaks: I did. I would use my G.I. Joe figures. I tried stop-motion, but that was too time consuming, so I just moved them around with my hands.

Abrams: Yeah, that took forever.

Beaks: Which elements of the script were there first? And how quickly did the screenplay come together?

Abrams: The inspiration for the movie was just that period of time making films as a kid. That was the first thing I was interested in playing around with. And as I tried to develop a story, it occurred to me that bringing a sort of genre element into the movie made it more fun to me, and made it something I would more likely go see in the theater. And it allowed these kids, who were making a zombie movie about some scary stuff, suddenly involved in intrigue and a situation that was genuinely scary and horrific. So the fun of amping up the drama by having a monster movie element imposed upon their innocent lives, that was a fun way in.
I was working with Steven, and I called him immediately when I thought about doing a movie called SUPER 8, and he was excited about it. But when I called him months later, after we were working on it and talking about it, I called him and said, "Listen, I think we should consider mixing these two separate ideas together: one about this thing that escapes from a train being transported from Area 51, and the other idea being these kids doing this movie." And he got excited about that idea, too, because it was a way to do a movie about characters that we loved but to suddenly have... a big, fun popcorn premise.

Beaks: And you set the film in an area of Ohio close to where Spielberg was born. Was that intentional?

Abrams: For me, it was because it felt like a perfect, classic sort of '70s Anytown, USA. It's a steel town. For the story, there needed to be an industry or factory in the town. My father grew up in Pennsylvania, and I remember as a kid seeing a lot of the steel towns and getting that sort of feeling. So in looking for places, it just felt like a good setting. We ended up shooting in West Virginia, very close to Pennsylvania and Ohio. It felt like the appropriate this-could-be-anywhere town.

Beaks: How involved was Spielberg in the shaping of the story?

Abrams: From the beginning, it was mostly about finding the best way to tell the story. He was just always full of ideas that were impressive. He seems to never stop having ideas. So the key is to figure out which ideas are the ones that are most appropriate for the moment. And he's got no ego about his ideas because he knows he's got a billion more where that came from. The fun about the many things with working with Steven is that he's got an amazing ability to go back from the macro big picture to the micro detail moment. He helped with the editing and the shaping of the script to the casting; he watched the casting tapes, he came to the set a few times, he came to the editing room and was helpful there. He's been just an amazing collaborator, and it's been a real privilege to work with him.

Beaks: This film is so well cast. The kids are incredible. How did you know these were the kids, and how easy were they to direct?

Abrams: It took a long time to find the right kids. The wonderful thing is that we ended up with the perfect group. Two of the main boys in the movie had never been on the set of anything before; they hadn't acted professionally before, so the whole thing was brand new. Part of the fun of that was to let them get comfortable and let them lead the way. It was very important to me that we have kids that didn't feel like professional actors acting like kids; they need to be real kids. The beauty of working with this group was that they didn't bring a lot of baggage. Even Elle Fanning, who'd done a number of other movies, she's so wonderful and talented. She's very much a real kid. She doesn't have that entitled young professional thing at all. It was an incredibly sweet and fun and scrappy group. And to watch them not just get comfortable on the set, but get comfortable with each other was really part of the fun of the experience.
Working with them... I was terrified because I'd never done that before. And it ended up being surprisingly... as a father of three kids, it was very familiar wrangling these kids. There are a number of shots where there are six people in one shot, so figuring out different ways to not just make the composition of the shots work, but to get some of them to focus as much as they would need to, part of that was the price you pay for not having those kind of professional kids. But on the other hand, I would've never traded it, because that sense of reality, the spontaneity and emotion, is so much more important than kids who are just little soldiers listening to everything you say. It was much more important to have kids who had the heart and messiness that real kids have. Every time the sound guys were happy with a take I knew we were in trouble because that didn't sound like real kids. You wanted to have them talk over each other and be a little messy.

Beaks: You do have some overlapping dialogue in there. That's kind of a throwback. People don't try that so much anymore.

Abrams: Oh, well, I love it. For me, it was, again, having kids myself and hearing how they talk, they very rarely give each other room to speak. It's usually just a big wall of sound. And part of the fun was letting them do that. Obviously, specifically, there were moments where it was critical that actually we hear a line here or there; we couldn't just be ridiculous and let it all be a mess. But it was wonderful to have kids who were so quickly able to get that they were being asked not to pretend to be unlike themselves. They were cast to be very much true to their nature, and it was great to see that they could do that.

Beaks: How much fun was it to write the film within the film? I really loved that.

Abrams: It was great. I let the kids sometimes go off and write scenes. I'd say to them, "Look, here's the situation. This is what's happening." Because I wanted them to get invested in it, and I wanted the movie to sound like them. There were times when I wrote lines and changed things, but I'd try to let them write the first pass at these scenes. It was often the most fun I had, when we would shoot the scenes from the movie before we would leave a certain location. It was just ridiculously fun.

Beaks: I love that you make Michigan sound like a far off place.

Abrams: (Laughing) I mean, come on! "Go to Michigan!"

Beaks: One last question: what's the status of the next STAR TREK film, and how many more do you think are possible with this cast?

Abrams: Um, I have no idea. Hopefully one more, at least.

Beaks: Is that all you've planned so far? Is that as far as you can see?

Abrams: We're not writing... which I know a lot of people have done, [filming] two sequels in a row or planning a trilogy. We've of course talked about a lot of different things, but in terms of specific planning for a film, there's only one movie on the horizon that we're talking about.

Beaks: And you will direct it?

Abrams: We're waiting to get the script into shape. I've been busy getting SUPER 8 done, and I know that Bob, Damon and Alex have been splitting their time as well. So I'm looking forward to jumping into STAR TREK as soon as the SUPER 8 stuff is done. But what the script is going to be... there are some amazing ideas, and I can't wait to actually be holding the script in my hand.


In the weeks since this interview, Abrams has yet to confirm that he will direct STAR TREK 2. Make of that what you will (my advice: don't make much of it at all, as it's probably just smart negotiating).

SUPER 8 escapes from studio captivity this Friday, June 10th.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • June 8, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Nicely Done!

    by puto tenax

    Great job, Mr. Beaks. Thanks for the Star Trek II reference. I do hope they have some "amazing" ideas.

  • June 8, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    not first

    by jbrinegar

  • June 8, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Dump Abrams, reboot Star Trek!!!

    by Jay_Lenos_Ugly_Wife

    Get rid of Kirk and Spock, have it be about Young Picard and the rest of the TNG crew. -How Picard became bald -How Riker got his beard -How Data was first discovered. -How the Federation-Cardassian war got started. Star Trek: First Class

  • June 8, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Quint gets Spielberg. Beaks gets Abrams.



  • June 8, 2011, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Can't imagine why there's still no script for Trek 2...

    by Triple_J_72

    ... since they're apparently rehashing everything, you'd think it'd be done by now.

  • June 8, 2011, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Hmmmm ... STAR TREK 2 gets more and more doubtful by the day.


  • June 8, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST

    "How Data was first discovered."


    Duh. A young Khan built him when he was enslaved on his home planet.

  • June 8, 2011, 5:29 p.m. CST

    well that sounded like a resounding "meh"

    by spidercoz

    I find his apparent lack of giving a shit about the status of Star Trek disturbing

  • That's what made those productions so magical, because it wasn't that farfetched to believe that it could happen to you! -You could receive a cute little pet that could spawn unspeakable green terrors. -You could find an old map that would lead you on an adventure for 'rich stuff.' -Your friend could invent a time machine out of a DeLorean (wish I had a friend like that!). -Your brand-new suburban house could house a terrible secret. That's why I never could get into Jerry Bruckheimer productions, because it was usually about people who had almost everything they could want already...and got even more of it!

  • June 8, 2011, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Terrible poster

    by Mephisto the Great

    Makes me miss Drew Struzan; the artwork looks like some of the distorted character artwork you find in Mad Magazine. Just sayin'.

  • June 8, 2011, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Star Trek "II" already exists

    by Coordinate_System

    Please learn to count or call it something else.

  • June 8, 2011, 5:39 p.m. CST

    His "first real film"

    by Detached

    Speaks volumes about the fact that JJ Trek was not much of a movie, doesn't it? Even The Beard tacitly says so. That said, Super 8 does look awful intriguing... I'm willing to cut Abrams slack and check this out. Looks like he's really pulled it off this time.

  • I can hear the tagline: 'before their encounters, before the horror, before it all went wrong, they were just a group of kids who had one thing in common: their love of movies. Find out how they came together in this prequel to the hit film from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg.'

  • June 8, 2011, 5:46 p.m. CST

    C'mon, Beaks, No Questions about Taking Care of Business?

    by Alice Cooper Stalker

    No questions about the possibility of a sequel?

  • June 8, 2011, 5:50 p.m. CST

    The only reason I want JJ to helm Star Trek Wars 2

    by Turd_Has_Risen_From_The_Gravy

    is for the entertainment that will surely follow as AsimovLives tears into it with gusto in every single talkback...

  • June 8, 2011, 6:09 p.m. CST

    That's some shiner the girl has in the poster

    by Bobo_Vision

    Does child abuse play a big factor in the film?

  • June 8, 2011, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to Direct Star Trek 2!

    by ltgalloway

    There will be crying. Oh yes, LOTS of crying! AND unsatisfying plot resolutions! I kid. I kid.

  • Alias felt like a Le Femme Nikita rehash. Mission Impossible 3 was a sequel no one wanted, except Cruise and the Church of Scientology. Lost was like Gilligan's Island plus Twin Peaks minus the fumbling brilliance of Peaks, Star Trek was Star Wars and now this, a pastiche/homage film. I'd like to see him make something I didn't see coming a mile away.

  • June 8, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST


    by purplemonkeydw

    How is ST2 not a higher priority with these guys? I don't get it. Loved the ST reboot, and I'll be in line for Super 8 this weekend.

  • June 8, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Too funny

    by Mephisto the Great

    You nailed it. :)

  • June 8, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Too funny, as directed to...

    by Mephisto the Great

    ...kamaji. Can't seem to finish messages before pushing the "Post" button. Must be the ADHD.

  • June 8, 2011, 6:43 p.m. CST

    JJ Trek was a movie in seach of a decent fucking script...

    by conspiracy

    I'm guessing that is why JJ sent Bob and Alex back to the drawing board with their 72 page(?!?!) "Treatment". The only reason they got away with that shit story and lame writing last time was that the Trek franchise was on life support and JJ was still basically an untested film director. Now the fucker is making "real" films...and is fully delusional seeing himself as the Spielberg heir apparent (I'm sure there is some odd Faustian relationship here). Oddly, this might make for a better film next time as he won't want his rising image tarnished with such Amateur writing as has been spewed out from Paper Products up to this point.

  • June 8, 2011, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Guessing Trek 2 script hit the wall when Lindelof hired for Prometheus

    by performingmonkey

    Damon Lindelof was going to be much more involved in scripting Trek 2 but he obviously hasn't been able to work on it due to his involvement with Ridley Scott's Prometheus. I'm guessing when his work is up on that one he will return and save those other two hacks' asses.

  • June 8, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST

    How come Mr. Abrams didn't drink any of Guillermo's tequila?

    by MooseMalloy

    That's the pressing question.

  • June 8, 2011, 7:16 p.m. CST

    conspiracy: It was a 72-page outline.


    Which is even more ridiculous than a treatment. Holy shit, were these guys simply writing off of marketers' notes and focus-group findings?

  • June 8, 2011, 7:20 p.m. CST

    What if Super 8 has Scott Pilgrim numbers this weekend?

    by Taragor

    The movie going public is eating these sequels up...Super 8 is like a Scott Pilgrim....regardless of how good it is, will it get people into the seats. SP was a directors love affair and many geeks embraced it, yet it did so poorly in terms of box office numbers. For the record, I am a big SP fan, enjoyed the hell out of it, but even Xmen FC had a "poor" opening in terms of money, so what is the chance for Super 8? And if it bombs, what would that really mean for the next Trek movie if he is holding out for "smart" negotiating?. Just posing questions here......

  • June 8, 2011, 7:27 p.m. CST

    ..."it just so happens that Abrams's formative 8mm works"...

    by TopHat

    Bullshit. There was nothing serendipity about it; like about ninety-percent of the other people who work in Hollywood, Abrams' parents worked there. THAT'S how he got his 8mm movies shown and how his grandpa got him on a Hollywood movie set. I'm sick of these folks trying to convince us they're just like us. Fact is, unless you've already made a name for yourself in something else and/or have a lot of money your movies are not going to be seen by Uwe Boll, let alone Spielberg. Want to know what's its like if your not related to someone? Read at your own risk: If you want to be a: DIRECTOR In order to be a director, you have to work your way up from the rock bottom. And the rock bottom is a Production Assistant (PA). PAs work harder than anyone in Hollywood. As a PA, you will often put in over 12 hours a day, sometimes six days a week, on the set. You will have no social life. You cannot be married or have a girlfriend/boyfriend. You will get very little sleep. You will live off of Top Ramen, just like you did in college. You will need to live within a half hour of the studio you are working for, which, considering the traffic situation in LA, is an amazing improbability. Expect to spend 90% of your paycheck on your rent. The other 10% on gas for your car. Did I mention you have to have a car? You have to have a car. You will put many many miles on it, as you will run errands all over the LA area and sometimes beyond. Expect to get paid very low, often as low as eight an hour (usually somewhere between 8 and 10 an hour) without overtime compensation. Which is above minimum wage, but you can make more money waiting tables. Hell, you can make more money BUSSING tables. EVERYONE starts out as a PA, no matter what their educational background is, and (hopefully) works their way up. But it won't happen overnight. You will be a PA for a good 3 or 4 years, if not more. Make friends on the set, because what will happen is someone will take a liking to you and when THEY make it to something like, say, Assistant Director, they'll make you 2nd Assistant Director, or something of that nature, which in Hollywood-speak basically means that instead of being a PA to the film crew, you're a PA to the Assistant Director (who is, in turn, a PA to the director). However, your responsibilities extend to the whole set, not just the AD, which means you'll be doing double the work for around the same pay. Let's say in 10 or 15 years, you actually make it to the director's chair. By the time you are there, Hollywood has drained so much life out of your soul that, in order to maintain steady work (enough work to live on) you will have to churn out bland, generic Hollywood films and ignore any sort of creative, artistic impulses you may have. Due to the high cost of living in Los Angeles, it is just far too risky to deviate from the assembly line nature of Hollywood filmmaking. To go out on a limb and attempt to demonstrate artistic aptitude is to risk being fired. If you are fired from a set, you will likely never get work as a director again and your landlord will evict you. To avoid that, you follow the rules, goose step to the drum beat, do whatever your producers tell you. Creativity is dead in the Hollywood director's chair. Also, you do not need to go to school to be a director, but it helps to have a reel to show people if they (rarely, if ever) ask to see one. WRITER The good news about being a screenwriter is that you don't have to live in Hollywood to do it. But it sure does help. There are almost as many would-be screenwriters in LA as there are would-be actors. If you want to write features, you are unlikely to get enough work to cover the cost of living expenses. Very few screenwriters make enough money per year to make a living off of it. Like the out of work actor, you will have to wait tables. TV writing pays well, but it's even harder to get anyone to look at your work than feature writing. Most agents will want to see at least two samples of TV writing: a pilot (your own idea for a show) and a spec script (an episode of an existing show). From what I hear right now (as of Jan. 07) most agents want to see a sample of Gray's Anatomy. Don't ask me why. But even getting an agent is no guarantee. Writing staffs are hard, if not impossible, to get on. You will not be a TV writer. I can say this because of the odds. Chances are, it will not happen. So that leaves feature writing. Not as good money as TV writing, because even though you get paid more per script, it is not regular work. Pre-production and development is a very lengthy period of time, which means to make a living off of feature writing, you will need to be optioning as much as you can. Optioning means a production company pays you a small sum (usually 10% of the amount that they would buy a script outright from you) to retain the option rights to your script. These options usually last a year. If the company hasn't started production on your script within that year, the rights to your script revert back to you. You can either renew the option (for another 10%) or shop the script around at other production companies. Most screenwriters get steady pay off of optioning, not selling scripts. But optioning is not a glamorous income. I know one screenwriter who makes on average 30,000 a year and has never sold a single script. I know that sounds impressive, but 30,000 a year is hardly liveable in LA. 30,000 a year gets you a West Hollywood studio apartment with no AC and no utilities and a lifetime supply of Top Ramen. That's about it. You think I'm joking. If you still want to take a stab at being a screenwriter in Hollywood, check or for ads about screenwriters. Every now and then a company will announce that it is "accepting queries." Send in a query letter detailing the plot of your script (do not send the script itself). You will probably not hear back, but make it sound as exciting and dynamic as you can anyway. This is a good yet unlikely first shot at getting producers to look at your scripts. Also, you should enter some screenwriting competitions (there are several every year). You will have to pay a fee to enter, but if you win an award, this looks very good in a query and will usually get someone's attention. But overall, screenwriting is not a terribly lucrative career path. Keep in mind, also, that you really don't need to go to school to be a screenwriter. No one asks for your credentials when you submit scripts, and even if you mention in a cover letter that you're a film school grad, no one will give a tin shit. One student told me once that he was getting his BA in Film Studies because he wanted to be a screenwriter. I laughed.

  • June 8, 2011, 7:27 p.m. CST

    SUPER 8 won't bomb, but it won't do huge numbers.


    Its budget was $50 million, so it should make that back and then some.

  • June 8, 2011, 7:33 p.m. CST



    Thank you for sharing your experience and insight. It's about fucking time the children on these boards learned a real life lesson.

  • June 8, 2011, 7:57 p.m. CST



    It's a good thing I'm Arnold schwarzenegger's illegitamate son--I got it made in the shade.

  • June 8, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Reel film really

    by Gunnzilla

    If you read the interview where Spielberg is Says "his first real movie" it goes on to say “A film that came out of his heart that he wrote and directed and it isn’t part of a franchise" so i dont believe Spielberg does not consider Abrams first two "REAL FILMS" Say what you want about the first two films. I don't know anyone that thinks MI# is a great film' but as an high paced acton film it gets the job done. Personally I think Star Trek IS a great movie. these films had budgets around $1.5 million and grossed almost 4 million those are real films p.s. I believe(hope) JJ will direct the next Star Trek

  • June 8, 2011, 8:30 p.m. CST

    if you want to....

    by Gunnzilla

    if you want to make movies you make movies You write it, you plan it, you shoot it, and you show it In you back yard a warehouse wall The internet. then repeat and keep doing it if you are good and don't give up. The world is your oyster Abrams may have gotten some breaks but with out talent and determination he would not of made it this far

  • June 8, 2011, 9:05 p.m. CST

    hey gunzilla

    by Russell

    What in the floating fuck are you talking about when you say that MI3 and Star Trek were made for 1.5 million, and made 4 million! No.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST


    by Russell

    Why was my post deleted? I just now told gunzilla hes dead fucking wrong about MI3 and Star Trek being made for only 1.5 million and grossing almost 4 million. He is wrong as fuck and that makes zero sense.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:15 p.m. CST

    I see your post right there, bravesarrs.


  • That's the only way I can explain his wacked out figures. An EXTREMELY valuable currency. Probably one on another planet. That, or he really is living in the past ... like 1918.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Just posted a 'review' of sorts on another talkback

    by dacanesta

    ......and if youre reading this, then I didnt like it! And ill add this: 'doesnt work as a fun group of kids movie, certainly doesnt work as a monster movie'. Reminded me of a slasher film: they need to drag out the first 2 thirds of the movie and keep you 'interested' with a few glimpses and kills (think Jason!) and then you have the fireworks at the end. Which was like the ending of Rogue but not as good. Im just so disappointed! Maybe my hopes were too high.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:18 p.m. CST

    I'm gladd he confirmed the intent was more late 70's

    by ufoclub1977

    Then late mid or late 80's. I was confused by the nostalgia for mid 80's on these talkbacks as opposed to the late 70's - ending with '82. For my group of geeks, '83 onward was a time of demystification of the giants with lackluster genre releases by the guys that made the best from 1974-1982.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:45 p.m. CST



    There were lens flares in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, but they were practical and necessary.

  • June 8, 2011, 9:59 p.m. CST


    by ufoclub1977

    Spielberg loves (loved?) real flares from exposed lights on set, notably flashlights, or practical fixtures... Spielberg movies back then had a grainy naturalism to them. ET is very dimly lit in many scenes with light sources flaring or glaring, Poltergeist had the front lawn lights, and, actually the entire house disappears into a fake lens flare. These days is seems like Spielberg movies love to add a filter that blooms hotspots in a dramatic but kind of cold way. People are starting to complain... I do love the first 20 minutes or so of War of the Worlds. Who the hell else can make cool shit like that?

  • start the count-down: 5,4,3,2,...............

  • June 8, 2011, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Jar Jar Abrams is kind of a hipster, right?

    by AssyMuffJizz

    I mean, what with the mystery box which I've probably never heard of and all...

  • June 8, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    So what do you think JJ's cock tastes like?

    by gruntybear

    I'm guessing it's hollow and empty like a chocolate Easter bunny.

  • June 8, 2011, 10:23 p.m. CST

    I mean, look at the fucking guy...

    by AssyMuffJizz

  • June 8, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives: "yuck yuck yuck Jar Jar Abrams"

    by NathanGrey

    what a tool. I know he isn't here yet but best be prepared.

  • but i am pretty sure his movie will be great.

  • June 8, 2011, 11 p.m. CST

    kamaji well said about Amblin

    by KilliK

    we need more movies of those.

  • SS was frequently visiting his parent's house when he was a kid,and he had him as a God since then. So are they family-related,or is it only a Jew related thing?

  • June 8, 2011, 11:32 p.m. CST

    I think asimovlives will be Fair in his Critiques

    by cymbalta4thedevil

    I used to think asimovlives was just a Abrams hating troll but reading his comments on other films has made me realize that we agree on many other things and just disagree on Abrams' Star Trek movie. I haven't been able to convince him he's wrong so I'm just waiting to see how he reacts to future Abrams movies. I think if Super 8 is a good movie, asimovlives will say so. And I think he's actually rooting for Abrams to make a good Star Trek "sequel". He likes Star Trek as a "franchise" ( I hate that term but I couldn't think of another one) and he wants Star Trek films to be good and successful so they'll keep making them. What would be really amusing is if asimovlives likes the next one and I'm disappointed in it. But either way it will be a fun talkback for both of us. I'm looking forward to the talkbacks almost as much as the movies themselves.

  • June 8, 2011, 11:54 p.m. CST

    JJ Abrams Trek was great!

    by bubcus

    It enabled scores of anti-sci-fi/anti-star trek moviegoers to embrace the franchise. I brought dozens of people to that film and they went on to watch other Star Trek films with a new fascination and respect. The film itself was an excellent popcorn film. It was flashy, had witty dialogue, fun performances, and never got boring. Nearly everyone left that theater with smiles on their faces. I hope the next one raises the bar and we see further character development. I would rather NOT see Khan brought into this new franchise as I'd prefer to see something more original, but I am still looking forward to whatever they bring out with great anticipation.

  • June 9, 2011, 12:06 a.m. CST

    killer marketing


    the twitter announcement of super8 prescreen was awesome...speaks to a lot of confidence that word of mouth will be good.

  • June 9, 2011, 12:13 a.m. CST

    And I'm not trying to stir up crap. I'm dead serious.

    by The Krypton Kid

  • - "With me, everything he says or does just works. Especially the humor, the smart-ass remarks. I mean, I remember after one take on "Insomnia" where I was feeling weird and insecure and I asked him, "Uh... How was that, Chris? Okay?," and he just looked at me with this drop-dead serious mug and said something like, "Great... if you like sucking." And this was in front of Pacino and everybody. But I just laughed my ass off and threw an insult right back at him, trying to save face and one-up him in front of the gang, and the crew... But see, I knew he was fucking with me..."

  • June 9, 2011, 3:12 a.m. CST

    Spielberg helped in the editing room -

    by Fortunesfool

    "Hmm, here's a suggestion JJ - Why not edit the film so the audience can follow the action, as opposed to simply being bludgeoned by it. And, if you use a tripod and think about the staging and shot composition beforehand-" "The what?" "Nevermind. Well done. I'm sure it'll make us lots of money."

  • June 9, 2011, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Not sure this will be greatm,,good maybe..

    by Doc_Hudson

    I have yet to see anything with JJ tied to it that's kept me interested,....and JJ Trek wars was the worst,..even though I liked the cast,and's just a downer in a zillion ways.

  • June 9, 2011, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Asimovlives was 100% correct about Star Trek

    by kwisatzhaderach

    It was a total piece of shit. Paramount are probably looking at it's foreign gross of $127 million and going "Um, what's the point in even greenlighting this?" JJ's half-hearted enthusiasm for the project is evident when he talks about it, especially in this interview to Beaks.

  • June 9, 2011, 4:14 a.m. CST

    'Looks like an early Spielberg film' -

    by Fortunesfool

    Yeah, and I just made a crayon drawing of a pensive looking woman with no eyebrows. It looks just like the Mona Lisa.

  • June 9, 2011, 4:23 a.m. CST

    6 minutes online

    by Captain_Ridley

    There's a six minute clip up on YouTube

  • Because seriously paying homage to spielberg is ok. but the dick riding got to stop mayn. You are your own director and make your own movies. Finish star trek 2. and then get to work on mass effect trilogy and we can all die happy men... lol. I dont even watch spielberg movies like that anymore since e.t. i mean for the 80's and within that specific time frame it was cool. but that time is over.... ...You (dare I say it and be killed at aicn with barbs of digital critism.) you jj abrahams, are the new...spielberg. There i said it.... have at thee! lol.

  • June 9, 2011, 5:26 a.m. CST

    I know next to nothing about this film...

    by Righteous Brother

    Its one of the few films this year I'm going to go into relatively fresh. I mean even if you avoid the trailers for Xmen, Thor and Lantern - you kinda know where the films are going to go. Also, get on with Star Trek already, I think they've already lost the momentum gained by the first one.

  • June 9, 2011, 5:28 a.m. CST

    "How much fun was it to write the film within the film?"

    by Ditko

    Answer: uuuhhh, very fun? There, that´s what a call journalism! Interesting question, indeed. Good job!

  • June 9, 2011, 7:15 a.m. CST

    Unclear on the concept

    by The StarWolf

    I remember the early 70s well, when Asahi Pentax led the way in lens design, using rare earth coatings to minimize, if not eliminate annoying lens flare. Now, Hollywood, unclear on the concept, goes out of its way to re-introduce that irritating effect? *sigh*

  • June 9, 2011, 7:40 a.m. CST

    the interview questions that were cut....

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    "Beaks: Elle Fanning , looking very cute, she is really blossoming, really very sweet, wouldn't you agree JJ? JJ: errr yeah great young actress that is really.... Beaks: yes good actress, but more importantly, soo soo delicious looking" and "Beaks: I enjoyed the movie, but at times it lacked a bit of drama, what it needed was some rape. <silence>"

  • June 9, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    That poster....

    by digginjim

    ... is ugly as all hell. Looks like a poor attempt at Drew Stuzan...

  • And this is what i wrote on the other 'node'. Not dead proud of myself or anything but it took me 20 minutes to write so im putting it here too! Here are my bullet points as to WHY i didnt like it. Agreement/disagreement welcome! 'for those that have now seen it, here are some of the reasons why I pretty much detested it (will only make sense to those who have seen it so feel free to comment after you have): - Lack of humour. - I dont know if the sound was bad but i couldnt understand half of what the kids were saying in the first 15 minutes or so. Ive since read this is a realism exercise (forget the term) of them talking across each other, but I genuinely couldnt understand what was being said. - The 'I gotcha!' scene with the father at the end was bad, and was compounded more than anything can be compounded by the fact it happens twice, with the second father. In short: bizarre, melodramatic nonsense. I can get emotionally involved so its not me! - the 'Super 8' aspect has no relevance. There is a zoom on the camera during the train crash sequence as if its going to be important, but it is only important in the obvious way, ie: it caught a little bit of footage of 'it'. - After caring what 'it' was for a year or so, after an hour or so I honestly, honestly didnt care what it was or what it wanted any more. - Glimpses of a creature worked for me in cloverfield. Welcomed them, because I was intrigued. For whatever reason (completely different film within a film? i.e. the kids hanging about with each other and their parents (rather pointlessly, non-understandably and heartlessly) cruel treatment of them) I didnt care about the creature, meaning 'glimpses' were just annoying, like if your best friend had a new brand of diet coke and was saying 'ah! You wanna bit dont ya! Eh!' and waved it in front of your face and you go ' be honest, no i dont'. Like that! Really wanting people to get their bums there and see it coz i think this is gonna be interesting. Oh, sorry, finally.......i struggle to make any links with this and early spielberg films so this film could do with stopping mentioning that link. Spielberg has humour, adventure, people doing skids on bmx bikes and a sense of playfulness and wonder. His abandonment issues arent dark and cruel. Anyone else who has seen this just want to punch the 2 fathers in the noggin? Then again i wanted to punch the boring kids in the noggih (as i said earlier, good actors, no charisma, if you disagree see this: The Goonies. I liked the lead kid though!) Ah, im off to bed, everyone get on this thread with your thoughts, im dying to know!'

  • June 9, 2011, 9:13 a.m. CST

    nitpick! and really tiny spoiler....

    by dacanesta

    would a person survive a head on collision with a train?!? Ok ok! Nitpicking, forget that one. In its defence, its better than Battle Los Angeles....

  • June 9, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    you guys are crazy

    by matt

    Get off your high movie geek horses and just enjoy a flick for what it is no matter how it is made or who made it. Movie review geek wannabes revolt!!

  • June 9, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    miyamoto_musashi. That shit made my morning!

    by conspiracy

  • June 9, 2011, 11:16 a.m. CST

    kwitsatzhaderach, stop being a fag

    by I made Wilhelm Scream

    Since when has the probability of a sequel SOLELY depended on the International take of a film. By your logic, we'd have had a Golden Compass sequel by now. The fact is Trek was at the cusp of 300 million domestically. That alone shows promise and warrants a sequel.

  • June 9, 2011, 11:30 a.m. CST

    RE: I think AssimovLives will be fair in his critiques.

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Few people seem to remember Assimov's initial reaction to STAR TREK which was, essentially, a muted "meh". He said that he and his "friends" came out of the theater feeling rather numb and indifferent. It wasn't until he saw the largely positive response on AICN that he became obsessed with all-things-Abrams and began subjecting this site and its patrons to his hateful, repetitive, lunatic rantings. He's a First-Class asshole and I wish folks would cease stroking his pathetic ego.

  • June 9, 2011, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Super 8 = Abrams kissing Spielbergs's ass

    by sunwukong86

    at least thats what it seems like to me

  • June 9, 2011, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Blood on the ceiling this summer

    by SmokingRobot

    Too many big movies competing for dollars. People are not going to the movies every fucking week. There's going to be some financial disappointments, for sure. This might be one of them.

  • June 9, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    I love how all these guys (Spielberg, Abrams etc)talk about...

    by cameron1975willi much they love making movies. Just as long as the price is right, right guys? Jesus Christ Spielberg, if you don't wanna make Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or a sequel to Jurassic Park then tell Lucas or the studio to fuck off. You don't NEED the money. And JJ? We get it, Star Trek ain't your thing, but sitting there holding out for $30 Million just makes you look like a greedy prick. If you've got something better to do, that appeals to your inner artist, go fucking do it! But I guess doing that wouldn't pay nearly as much would it? Some artists you guys are. You need to amass personal fortunes of hundreds of millions of dollars to feel like you finally won daddy's approval? Here's a tip; that approval ain't ever coming!

  • June 9, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST


    by JumpinJehosaphat

    I don't think they're talking about art. They're talking about their love of making Hollywood movies. It's more of a craft, really -- an expensive, soul-numbing, homogenized craft.

  • June 9, 2011, 12:46 p.m. CST

    asimove hates star trek but loves tron legacy?

    by Dr_PepperSpray

    His hypocrisy knows no bounds. Well asi, rip up your star trek hater card, Cuz yer outta the fuckin club.

  • June 9, 2011, 3:50 p.m. CST

    ugghh. please NO MORE SHAKEY CAM.

    by shogunshin

    i liked star trek, but the shakey cam was miserable. how is it considered 'action' if you cannot see what is going on? if you went back to the 50's and asked orson welles to 'shake' the camera during shooting welles would have beat the shit out of the dp.

  • June 9, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST


    by Detached

    ... gave it 3 1/2 stars. He says he was "elated" by how good the first hour was, but says it slips after that. But he calls it "a wonderful film, nostalgia not for a time but for a style of filmmaking." FWIW. Doubtless some Ebert-bashing will now begin...

  • June 9, 2011, 5:32 p.m. CST

    shogunshin...The Camera Shaking is a fucking Pip...

    by conspiracy

    I've watched that "Special Feature" on the Trek DVD 10 time more than the film itself....never gets fucking old in it's self indulgent hilarity.

  • June 9, 2011, 6 p.m. CST


    by nyj_et

    "Fact is, unless you've already made a name for yourself in something else and/or have a lot of money your movies are not going to be seen by Uwe Boll, let alone Spielberg." Awesome.

  • June 9, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST

    by Candy

    <3 I've been waiting for more than a year to see this! "Goonies" meets "close encounters"!!! Terrific Homage! I'm the biggest Goonies fan so for me, this will be fantastic!

  • June 9, 2011, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Goonies never say Die!

    by Candy

    This film has all the elements of an amblin production. To chalk it up - Goonies meet close encounters! I'm fine with it all...

  • June 9, 2011, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Still love the "Star Trek" bashing!

    by notcher

    It's like all the die hard "Star Wars" fans on this site are pissed that Abrams made a movie a gazillion times better than any of the prequels combined and so all they can do is rip on "Star Trek." Unless I saw a different movie, "Star Trek" was shockingly good. I don't get the haters, especially when they say things like "Star Trek and Abrams suck balls, but bring on Tron 3!" I just laugh my ass off!!!!

  • June 9, 2011, 10:33 p.m. CST


    by Candy

    I do go almost every week..and I will rerun at the theater even, lol...then also will see movies in both IMAX and regular...idk..Maybe I'm solely supporting the local theater..I've been waiting for a summer like this..what I don't get is why they play all the horror movies at Xmas instead of releasing them in October????

  • June 10, 2011, 1:47 a.m. CST

    retool Where No Man has Gone Before

    by eddieVroom

    men turned psychic demigods - could play like superjail lol

  • June 10, 2011, 1:48 a.m. CST

    This generation's Goonies?

    by eddieVroom

    feels like it...

  • June 10, 2011, 3:55 a.m. CST

    A 'fun Star Trek film is not against the rules (Star Trek IV)

    by Fortunesfool

    However, making an inane, dumbed down, vacuous eye candy Star Trek is.

  • June 10, 2011, 4:59 a.m. CST

    6 min clip....

    by allouttabubblegum

    Just saw this. Seriously no...what is the deal with all those flares?!!! there was a many shots from where a big ol' blue flare being distracting with nothing producing it! Yeah the beard has lens flares...but not in every fuckin shot to the point of distracting you away from the subject! Amatuerish.

  • June 10, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Assimov !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    by Ryan Kinsel

    is on vacation apparently!

  • June 10, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST


    by smallfolk

    Yikes. Bitter much? Was it Abrams or Speilberg that rejected your screenplay?

  • June 10, 2011, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Filming of Super 8

    by Tom Vidovich This is an amateur article about the filming of Super 8 last fall in the West Virgnia steel town, Weirton, that plays Lillian, Ohio in the movie. Anecdotes and pictures featuring JJ, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich, Dan Castellaneta, and the Bad Robot crew and locals. Spoiler free set visit blog and a love letter to Amblin, Bad Robot, and cinema in general. This is what happens when Hollywood and Bad Robot secrecy take over a small town in your backyard.

  • June 10, 2011, 11:27 p.m. CST

    That is a real Drew Stuzan poster right?

    by MST3KPIMP

    if not that would be perfect since the movie seems to be faux Speilberg so why not a faux Stuzan?

  • June 11, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Let's just pretend Abrams' Star Trek just never happened

    by Kirsan


  • June 11, 2011, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Re : kirsan

    by Real Deal

    I'd rather not thank you.

  • June 11, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    @fortunesfool - dumbed down?

    by Smashing

    From the dizzying heights of Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis, the thinking mans Star Trek, pfff.

  • June 11, 2011, 6:36 p.m. CST


    by I Hope You Die

    Sure, the plot sucked. Yes, the acting was hammy. Yes, the set design was bizarrely bad (why did everything look like either the inside or a warehouse or a messy toolshed?). In fact, I don't have a single good thing to say about the movie. But it was fun! Everybody who thinks otherwise is a nerd. I don't want to be a nerd! I want to be the kind of cool person who can enjoy a bad movie and say it's fun. Man, I can't wait to hand over money for the shitty sequel so I can claim I liked that too and solidify my status as somebody able to think shit is good and thus confirm that I'm not a nerd. That'll be great. I hope I can get a date to come to the sequel with me so we can laugh about how we're watching a Star Trek movie that those nerds would hate but that we're enjoying despite not being able to think of a single reason why it's not a Transformers 2-level cinematic abortion. Awesome!

  • June 11, 2011, 9:49 p.m. CST

    Asimovlives was 100% WRONG about Star Trek you dipstick!

    by quantize

    He's a humorless precious cunt with no sense of adventure and desperate to appear intellectual.. the movie was fucking fun you whining assholes

  • June 11, 2011, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Fact: Jar Jar Star Trek > All the TOS Star Trek Movies...

    by schizoschizo

    ...The Old Trek=Toupee and Old, Fat Bad-Acting Bastards. And all you old, fact bastards should just give up. No one makes movies for you anymore.

  • June 11, 2011, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Doesn't matter if ST was good.

    by obi_juan

    They replaced a franchise with 1 movie, maybe 2. Was the reboot really worth erasing most of what came before it?

  • June 12, 2011, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Super 8 needed John Williams

    by Hank Berlo

    I cant remember one melody from the soundtrack. And i saw it 3 hours ago.

  • June 12, 2011, 9:09 a.m. CST

    General Complaint About Movie-Going

    by Autodidact

    Lately I find the people I go to the movies with as annoying as the crowds. Why does everyone I see movies with insist on: <li>asking me part-way through the movie "do you like this movie?" Let's fucking discuss it afterwards you nitwit. <li>sighing, kicking their legs, assuming weird postures, or otherwise communicating your boredom to me non-verbally (be patient and sit still, I'm sure someone will pull out a gun soon) <li>commenting on the movie at all? I was immersed in a story/setting here... thanks for taking me out of it to share your inane observation... which I had already noticed by the way... we are after all both staring at the same 30-foot screen. <li>Not getting a drink and assuming you'll just have a sip of mine, when I've not made a secret of my life-long disgust with sharing beverages? <li>Having to take a pee break even though you don't get a drink... this one really baffles me as I'm captain no-bladder-control but somehow can almost always sit through a two hour movie without getting up to pee (use some fucking willpower) <li>Not bringing your glasses, requiring me to sit one place or the other because you're disorganized. <li>Dressing for the movies like you're going to play tennis... the movies take place in a darkened, air-conditioned room where you'll be sitting completely still for two hours... you won't be hot you dolt! etc... basically I'm a real curmudgeon at the movies... I just want to sit still and pay attention to the movie (and munch some popcorn usually). Why is that such a difficult goal to achieve? Anyhow... blu-ray. That's where it's at.

  • June 12, 2011, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Fuck me... no bullets?

    by Autodidact

    Lately I find the people I go to the movies with as annoying as the crowds. Why does everyone I see movies with insist on: Asking me part-way through the movie "do you like this movie?" Let's fucking discuss it afterwards you nitwit. Sighing, kicking their legs, assuming weird postures, or otherwise communicating your boredom to me non-verbally (be patient and sit still, I'm sure someone will pull out a gun soon) commenting on the movie at all? I was immersed in a story/setting here... thanks for taking me out of it to share your inane observation... which I had already noticed by the way... we are after all both staring at the same 30-foot screen. Not getting a drink and assuming you'll just have a sip of mine, when I've not made a secret of my life-long disgust with sharing beverages? Having to take a pee break even though you don't get a drink... this one really baffles me as I'm captain no-bladder-control but somehow can almost always sit through a two hour movie without getting up to pee (use some fucking willpower) Not bringing your glasses, requiring me to sit one place or the other because you're disorganized. Dressing for the movies like you're going to play tennis... the movies take place in a darkened, air-conditioned room where you'll be sitting completely still for two hours... you won't be hot you dolt! Yelling at the screen... okay this one's old, I have not seen a movie with someone who yelled at the screen in years... but honestly I think this is the #1 most shit-headed thing you can do at the movies... it's like heckling a comedian or pestering a celebrity in public... shows you have no containment of your ego. etc... basically I'm a real curmudgeon at the movies... I just want to sit still and pay attention to the movie (and munch some popcorn usually). Why is that such a difficult goal to achieve? Anyhow... blu-ray. That's where it's at.

  • June 12, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST

    I Like Fat Old Bastards in my Movies

    by Autodidact

    And I pretty much hate any movie that has a waify young girl "kicking butt".

  • June 12, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    I forgot One

    by Autodidact

    .. being even more misanthropic than I am, to the point you insist on sitting in the side-columns of seats. I know the crowd is annoying but sitting way off to the left or right pretty much guarantees a crappy screening.

  • June 12, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Cross posting, but here's my take on it -

    by SK229

    (SPOILER ALERT) I actually agree very much with asimovlives on Abrams and that the future of sci-fi in cinema lay with Nolan, Blomkamp, and Duncan Jones, although not quite as vehemently regarding Abrams. I honestly went in expecting to despise this movie based on what I had read and heard. I thought it would be a soulless exercise in, wait for it, nostalgia porn, and that I could feel its manipulative tentacles full of suckers reaching through the screen to fellate our collective nostalgia phallus, but instead was genuinely surprised that it had a beating heart at its core WHERE THE KIDS AND THEIR INTERACTIONS were concerned. Also with regards to the filmmaking itself (shot choices, color palette, production design). As a filmmaker myself, there were times where I went, "Holy shit, Spielberg DOES do that with the camera a lot (or used to)." As a matter of fact, this movie will make you more aware of early Spielberg's style than you ever were, because I have to give him credit at absolutely NAILING the visual aspect, which I didn't think were possible. Afterwards, I had to wonder how much of that came to him naturally and how much of it actually involved storyboarding while watching multiple monitors of similar scenes from Spielberg movies. There are heavy-handed, but FUN, references to Jaws, many, many, many references to Close Encounters and E.T., and even some nods to Jurassic Park, Sugarland Express, The Lost World, Duel, Gremlins... the list goes on and on if you're sensitive enough to it (i.e., have seen those films dozens of times). The kids were fantastic. I thought they'd be bland and lack charisma as one poster stated, but they actually succeeded in making me realize just how underwritten or just plain badly written kids are in today's sci-fi movies and I would include the work of other sci-fi visionaries where I still don't think they're up to par in the character department (Nolan, looking at you). Actually, not just kids, but adults as well. I think Abrams did an amazing job of bringing these kids to life and making them believable in their hopes and aspirations as well as their quiet struggles. It also made me wonder if kids at that age really have become rotten little fuckers because of such extreme exposure at an early age to too much bullshit via the internet (like... go the fuck outside and build a fort or something with your friends and STAY OFF FACEBOOK), or whether we really are looking into the past with rose-tinted glasses... maybe a little bit of both. But honestly, either I'm a sucker and I'm just not seeing it or they were brilliant, because I haven't seen believable kids like that in a movie in a loooong-ass time. The talking-over-each-other aspect can feel forced at times because the dialogue in the background calls attention to itself rather than being unimportant and flippant, but more often than not it works and rather than shit all over Abrams for using this 'technique', I wish more of today's filmmakers would tell the audio guys to fuck the hell off and embrace it because the reason Spielberg did it had to do with creating a REALITY. It feels more real and increases the verisimilitude of their relationships to one another, because THAT'S HOW KIDS ACTUALLY TALK. It requires a bit of extra work, sure, because you have to now think about background dialogue, but when it's done correctly, its just plain awesome to watch. Ok, THE PROBLEMS WITH THE MOVIE - #1, right off the bat, the most glaring error to me was the relationship between the two fathers. Their reconciliation at the end felt like a typical Abrams cop-out at actually fleshing out the story and rushing into production with a half-cocked script because, "Hey, they only care what's in the box." Dickhead (sorry, but this error was so glaring, he deserves it), you don't even believe your own bullshit about the magic box, obviously, because you worked SO hard on creating the reality of these kids and their relationships that I could FEEL you going through the original script marking where to plug in obligatory monster scenes and glossing over shit that you KNEW needed another few rewrites to fully assimilate the two films, believing that the audience doesn't really care about endings and that it's impossible for it to be satisfying when applying your magic box theory. FUCKING BULL-TO-THE-SHIT - I've said it before here and I'll say it again - JAWS - satisfying ending based on CHARACTER ARCS AS WELL AS THE FACT THAT THE FUCKING FISH GETS BLOWN UP. RAIDERS (a SPIELBERG film with a LITERAL FUCKING MAGIC BOX) - THE POWER OF THE ARK IS REVEALED AND THE NAZIS PAY FOR THEIR HUBRISTIC LACK OF HUMILITY BEFORE ITS POWERS. FUCK ME, let's go for straight drama - TAXI DRIVER - Travis builds and builds and builds towards SOMETHING ("My whole life has been leading up to this point, etc.), we don't know what, but when it comes, it's a fucking spectacular blood-letting that finally calms him down... until the next probable blood-letting, which adds another suggestive layer at the very end of the film FURTHER SATISFYING THE REQUIREMENTS OF A GOOD ENDING. Anyway, ALL SATISFYING ENDINGS. You could go on forever. Abrams DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO RESOLVE HIS STORIES IN A SATISFACTORY WAY, and this is his number one problem as a filmmaker. Say what you will about Nolan, but that, 'He's the hero Gotham needs', as well as the spinning top and getting off the plane in Inception (hell, look at The Prestige) are ALL extremely satisfying endings. District 9 was building and building and building towards Wicchus helping the alien get home and when it comes, it's emotional and spectacular... because in all of these examples, the seeds for the ending, the anticipation of it and the way the character arcs will be tied up are SPRINKLED THROUGHOUT THE FUCKING MOVIES. It's subtle, but the ending of a film needs to be seeded in nearly every scene of the movie. Abrams, however, goes off in multiple directions for 90 minutes until he seems to look at his watch and go, "Ho-ly shit... we gotta tie this thing up, let's figure out an ending!" The biggest issue with this movie is the last 15 minutes, which are borderline terrible, trite, and glaringly underwritten in comparison with the rest of the film. Scratch that, they COULD have worked, had the rest of the movie tied in properly (in a way I can't even begin to get into because it would probably involved rewriting the entire film)... but the father's reconciliation didn't work at all. All of a sudden, 'IT WAS AN ACCIDENT'. That was the line of dialogue where I went... oh man, that fucking sucks. Then the whole scene with the kids getting cornered in the cave by the alien and it picking up Joel? THAT FELT LIKE A METAPHOR FOR THE WRITER/DIRECTOR GETTING CORNERED BY THE ALIEN (I.E. - MAGIC BOX) AND HAVING NO CLUE WHERE THE FUCK TO GO. "Go home!" Ok... go home. Got it. I probably sound like I'm all over the map, but I KNOW that shit between the fathers needed another story beat (which would have probably sacrificed some earlier stuff like, oh, I don't know, cutting 2 minutes out of the fucking endless and unbelievable that they'd be unscathed train crash? or the E.T. mimicing bike riding shots?). The alien is probably the least developed thing in the whole film, though, and because of those two things, the ending rings as hollow and totally unsatisfying. Which is a shame when the rest of the movie was SO fucking well done, imho. But I can still enjoy the rest of it because I had so much fun watching those kids interact as well as the environment, which the production designer nailed. One last thing with which I'd have to agree with Asi and I've already mentioned it - the train crash is bullshit. I think its spectacularly staged, is a sonic skull-fuck, and would have been fine for the kids to watch - FROM A DISTANCE. Like say, THE TRAIN PLATFORM, which could remained intact while they looked on in horror. But the way their dodging exploding cars and torn in half doors felt REALLY Michael Bayish and 'modern' versus the rest of the film. It also felt TOTALLY FUCKING FAKE, and it did a disservice to the story up to that point. There was a way to viscerally involve the kids in that crash without it resorting to modern bullshit movie physics and skin-of-their-teeth nonsense, but Abrams went fully in the opposite direction of the correct way and if he gets shit for it, it is WELL DESERVED. Stuff like that proves he is probably the most insecure, looking-for-validation filmmaker working on big budget high profile films working today. But like I said... the kids and the way their written is great.

  • June 14, 2011, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Holy novellas, Batman!

    by KnowItAllFromCali

    That was a long post to follow...

  • June 14, 2011, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Jeez schizoschizo quit acting like a cock

    by orcus

    Wrath Or Khan fucking rules

  • June 14, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    JJ should replace that lame hack David Koepp!

    by Onin Solstice

    Seriously, Spielberg think Koepp's the shit but we all know it's more like he is full of shit. Dump that overpaid imposter and make JJ The Berg's new script man!!!

  • June 14, 2011, 10:09 p.m. CST

    About this site

    by doom master

  • June 14, 2011, 10:11 p.m. CST

    This site's future will be

    by doom master

    MEDIATED. You heard me. Eventually these guys on here will be in the limelight to the point where casual commetary is bad for PR....And they will moderate.

  • June 15, 2011, 6:43 a.m. CST

    orcus, my bad. Wrath of Khan indeed rules.

    by schizoschizo

  • June 15, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Love that he doesn't want to "make a trilogy"...

    by Kremzeek

    for Trek and is just concentrating on the one film. I don't want another Pirates of the Cariibbean scenario where they take on way more than they know how to handle. Kudos for that. I'm a bit disappointed that there's no script, though. With the supposed timeframe we're talking about, that's just weird to me, and doesn't bode well, IMO. However, if JJ and the studio give a collective middle finger to a "timeline" and actually take their time to write, develop, film, and THEN secure a date (like it used to be done), I'll be all for it. I'd rather them take their time to make something great rather than rush it to meet a deadline. I liked the first JJ Trek, but there was lots of room for improvement. I'm willing to give them that chance. Looking forward to it.

  • June 15, 2011, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Sorry for double-post

    by Kremzeek

  • Crisis averted :)

  • June 16, 2011, 11:07 p.m. CST

    J.J.'s Star Trek is the best fucking Star Trek to come out

    by elgato73

    since the TOS. It fucking made all the Trek movie sequels and sequel series and prequels look like they were drawn with fucking crayons. And it was fun too! Which apparently Star Trek isn't supposed to be because fucking Trekkies like assimovdies or assimovfuckshissonsass say so. Trekkies are basically like the Prequels--a bunch of fucking bullshit tied up in an idea that got snuffed out years ago. Fuck those cunts! All these fucking cunts who are Trekkies that hate on J.J. Abrams do it because they want Shatner to cum on their face while sticking the warp nacelles of an Enterprise model up their asses.

  • June 17, 2011, 6:14 p.m. CST

    It should be renamed ST:The ADD Generation

    by orcus

    Seriously are you on fucking medication or something, you're acting like a complete retard. At best it was an OK movie that did have its moments. There are so many flavors of Trek to make this one stand out head and shoulders? Fuck that. The TOS movies should have ended at 3 although a case could be made for 4 just because it was out of the norm. As far of the series are concerned, the all seems to find their sea legs starting at season 3. Seasons 1&2 of TNG were HORRID, once overall story arcs were developed it picked up steam. Same with DS9, when was basically a political drama with Trek overtones, which in all honesty was rather good for folks who actually pay attention to the minutia of background events, not for the shiny object crowd. Voyager was eh, folks just watched that just out of sheer loyalty for Trek. Enterprise just started getting interesting in its last season with a crappy 3 season build up Mr Abrams does have a very good knack for building anticipation for his movies but usually comes up short for the main event. Look at the build up for Cloverfield and Super 8. He helped set up some fascinating fake sites pointing making some great online puzzles, but the actual movies were just decent. In all honesty, the build up and the viral marketing campaigns were more fun than the actual movies

  • June 18, 2011, 8:10 p.m. CST

    simulacra, simulacra, simulacra.

    by Dr_PepperSpray

    I wanted to love Super 8, but god was it dull. It looks, feels and sounds like a photocopy of something better. <P> Strike 3 JJ, we're done.