Super 8
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -4

Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Gabriel Basso, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee and Zach Mills. Teen action thriller. Written and Directed by J.J. Abrams. Produced by Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In the summer of 1979, a group of newly teenaged friends from 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. A trapped alien, probed by scientists and abused by the military, finally reacts in a decidedly aggressive manner. The kids, each dealing with his or her own growing pains, find themselves on the run from the authorities and the beast.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Iím not sure why the makers went for the PG-13 rating. It seems aimed at kids as well as teenagers. Had the filmmakers avoided the excessive profanity and violence, the film could have been embraced by parents for younger children, thereby ensuring a larger audience. Is the studio hoping parents wonít be influenced by such warnings? Itís a mix of Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind and Stand By Me, with a smidgen of E.T. and Transformers. Thatís not a bad stew of sci-fi thriller ingredients. The characters are fully developed, thereís depth to the story and its metaphor (a space creature stands in for adolescent fears and frustrations), and the effects are standard for J. J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg Ė which means the CGI is as good as it gets. The film is funny at times, touching at others, and always engaging. But the intensity of the action is excessive and the language, especially from one kid, is offensive. Evidently, thatís okay with Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams. But why? In fact, why so much foul language? ďBecause thatís the way preteens talkĒ? Is that the argument moviemakers now make?

As a use of language, one well-placed expletive may have humorously captured the fear or frustration of the unknown for our young heroes. To have around 40 obscenities, including one f-bomb, seems not only lacking in responsibility but devoid of creativity. Parents donít want their kids talking like that. Teachers donít. People walking by a group of adolescents at the mall donít. Yet it is contained in nearly every film production aimed at the teen demographic. There had to be discussion concerning the filmís content during its inception, so how come the decision was made to include such vulgarity and profanity in a film that could have easily been a family feature? I keep thinking movies are an art form and that their creators should aim up, not merely reflect the acceptance of crudity in the culture. I would have thought Steven Spielberg felt the same. He is, after all, one of the best filmmakers of all time. For some reason, however, he doesnít find cursing in films indicative of the mediumís efforts to crude-down the culture.

By the way, it was the Jewish people who were first instructed not to misuse Godís name. So why do so many Jewish filmmakers include ďG---d---ď in nearly all their films? Wouldnít you think Jewish artists would be sensitive to the religious feelings of others? So, why do they bandy the name of Christ around as a mere expletive for relieving tension? These are people who have little good to say about Mel Gibson due to his insensitivity and blatant attack on the Hebrew community. So, why canít they see that Christians are also being the brunt of insensitive bigotry?

The answer is simple. Many are Jews in name only. They are not devout men who put store in Exodus 20. They adhere to their Jewish traditions, but signal no acceptance of their religion. Sadly for us, there are far too many people making movies who are Jews, and Christians, in name only. But before we cast stones, arenít we also to blame? Kids were swearing in Stand By Me twenty years ago, and in E.T. Yet there was no righteous indignation from the church-going public back then. Hereís a test. Ask people if they saw Stand By Me and E.T. Most likely the reaction will be, ďOh, I loved those films.Ē Whatever they say, most will not mention or remember the objectionable language. The movie industry has aided in desensitizing us, and most Christian filmgoers evidently just donít give a (you fill-in the blank).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Around 40 obscenities, a couple of them in reference to female body parts, several minor expletives.
Profanity: Six misuses of Jesusí name and several uses of the expression ďoh my God.Ē
Violence: From a detailed and loud, explosive train wreck to the seemingly unstoppable attacks of a giant lizard-looking alien being, the filmís action is not just jolting, but numbing in its effect.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: A couple of sexual references.
Drug Abuse: A stoner teenager offers to sell drugs to adolescents; later we see him getting stoned on pot. Two parents are verbally abusive, and due to their own hurts, behave badly toward their kids until they finally learn life lessons.
Other: The military are portrayed as bad guys Ė as in E.T., hunting down the alien due to a prejudice toward the unknown.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (