Will 'Super 8' be another 'Cloverfield'?


As Mark Twain pointed out, history doesn’t repeat itself… but it does rhyme. So the release of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 — a mysterious film about a mysterious something that mysteriously attacks a group of average-joe Americans — can’t help but remind us of the last time Abrams produced a mysterious film about a mysterious attack, etc etc. Abrams didn’t direct 2008’s Cloverfield, but the film’s marketing campaign bears all the hallmarks of Abrams’ buzz-generating mystery-box methodology. The trailer for Cloverfield debuted before Transformers, and trying to figure out just what, exactly, the film was about became something of an internet pastime in the ensuing six months. (Remember when we all thought it was a Voltron movie?) Cloverfield had a huge opening weekend in January 2008, but ticket sales dropped precipitously once people actually saw the movie. It’s a key entry in the history of hyped-up mystery movies: No one really knew what Cloverfield was, but everyone was excited to find out — and then almost everyone was disappointed. I actually tend to think that Cloverfield gets a bad rap (and for what it’s worth, EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it a B+), but since it’s always healthy to be just a little skeptical about everything, it’s worth asking: Will Super 8 be a similar hype-vs-reality letdown for moviegoers? Or, put another way, will we all soon be suffering from another Cloverfield hangover?

I’m betting not. For one thing, one of the main reasons people seemed disappointed with Cloverfield was purely aesthetic: I don’t think anyone anticipated that the whole movie was going to be shot like a drunken home video. So, along with all the good reviews Super 8 is getting, you can rest assured that it won’t give you motion sickness. But there’s a bigger issue at work here, and it’s a doozy. I haven’t seen Super 8, so I still don’t know if the mysterious train-escaping force is a monster, an alien, a robot, a smoke monster, a bargain-brand smoke monster, or perhaps an alien monster robot who commands an army of smoke monsters. Much as I like Cloverfield, even I have to admit that the monster at the center of it was pretty, well, lame. (In some ways, it almost resembled the American version of Godzilla, which is not anything anyone ever wants to resemble.)

So, will the mysterious whatever-it-is in Super 8 be similar disappointing? Maybe…but here again, Super 8 has one key difference from its overhyped sibling. The human cast of Cloverfield was almost purposefully unmemorable — Lisa Schwarzbaum referred to them as “attractive, indistinguishable young people” — whereas Super 8 centers on a group of American kids. I’m betting that the latter will prove more enjoyable to watch for the average viewer, if only because we’re all secretly yearning for another Goonies.

PopWatchers, are you worried that Super 8 will disappoint you, Cloverfield-style? For that matter, anyone else out there think Cloverfield is secretly kind of good? Don’t be afraid! The haters can’t hurt you, except with their words.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:
Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams discuss how they met and reveal the true origins of ‘Super 8′
‘Super 8′ In IMAX: Will you be seeing J.J. Abrams’ retro sci-fi opus on the big screen or REALLY BIG screen?
12 ‘Is It As Good As Its Trailer?’ Movies

Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • Amy

    Why is entertainment weekly obessesing with super 8!?

    • Kat

      Would you rather they go back to obsessing over Glee and Twilight? ;)

      • Nick

        Anything that’s not Glee or Twilight is OK in my book!

    • Jacob

      Cuz they’re an entertainment magazine and it’s a big summer movie coming out this weekend!


      • Sara

        rude much

      • NMaki

        Yeah and why does Newsweek keep running articles about world events? WTH!

    • DGH

      yeah they should be reporting on politics or the weather not this movie crap what’s wrong with you ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY? (entertainment being the key here)

  • Gretchen

    I saw both movies. HATED Cloverfield, LOVED Super 8. So, no, it won’t suffer the same fate, at least in my book.

    • dee

      True and I like that Super 8 didn’t take itself way too seriously..

  • Gretchen

    One more thing – why on Earth would you put a picture of the monster on this thread? Spoiler alert much?!?!

    • crispy

      That’s the Cloverfield monster, silly.

    • Michael

      That’s from Cloverfield.

    • Gretchen

      Sorry, I just looked at it again and saw that. My bad!!

    • e4ia

      **SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER** I can’t blame you for the mix-up. I actually thought that the creature in Super 8 looked very similar to the creature in Cloverfield. The face was a little different in Super 8 but they seemed to have the same body type and genetic make-up.

  • ashley

    i do feel like they were similar but super 8 was entertaining, cloverfield was not. you can def tell they are abrams movies.

  • crispy

    I hope it’s another Cloverfield. Because Cloverfield is awesome. I don’t get why people hate it, but to each their own. It’s a great movie with a unique perspective. And the sound is amazing… we use it to show off our home theater system.

    • Davy Jones

      Thank you Crispy! What’s with all the Cloverfield hate? I thought it delivered what it promised and lived up to its marketing.

      • EC

        Agreed – I LOVED Cloverfield. To say “almost everyone was disappointed” in it is a major overstatement. Of the people I know who saw it, about half loved it, half hated it (almost no middle ground). So please, quit dissing Cloverfield.

    • e4ia

      Agree! I saw Cloverfield in the theater on opening day and thought it was great. I have it on DVD and pop it in every now and then. I also thought that the creature was effectively menacing and scary. And don’t get me started on those huge, man-eating parasites…..ICK!

  • Brian

    That photo is from Cloverfield…if peeps haven’t seen it yet, that’s their own fault at this point.

  • alison

    they didn’t print a still from Super 8, that’s the Cloverfield monster. & I agree with Gretchen.

    • Gretchen

      Thanks, I noticed that when I looked more at the picture and saw the Empire State Building in the background and was like, wha? Oh. :-)

  • Dave

    Cloverfield was good. It was a monster movie. Who needs characters with depth or even actors with talent. They’re supposed to be bad and annoying so we can enjoy their terror and inevitable deaths, right? Whilst Super 8 may appear similar I don’t think it will be. Im expecting alot more from it.

  • therealeverton

    I’ve never understood why people were suprised by Coverfield being all shaky, home movie looking. It was never really made to look like anything else and it was said that twas something the filmmakers wanted to do. I really enjoyed and I know Abrams produced it but he didn’t write it or direct it so it’s not an “abrams” movie anymore than Transformers or The FLintstones are Spielberg movies.

    • DGH

      I agree I remember going to see Cloverfield expecting the shaky camera look. With Abrams directing I must say my expectations are high for this movie. Only JJ could make me sit through Star Trek!!!!

  • ylg

    You guys are kidding right? Cloverfield is one of the best movies in its genre.

  • AshleyBrooke

    I for one actually liked Cloverfield. :( And am hoping they make a new one.

  • S.

    Loooooved Cloverfield, I thought it was a great movie. I’ve seen it a couple of times. Can’t wait for Super 8!!! :D

  • outside agitator

    can’t be more disappointed than I was in Bridesmaids after all the hype. chicks with the Hershey squirts…hysterical.

    • LMFAO

      Sad troll is sad.

  • Evie

    I was disappointed by the camera technique, but Cloverfield wasn’t too bad. Still, I’m sure Super 8 will do far better. It’s more nostalgic and has heart.

  • larry k

    I loved Cloverfield and am seeing Super 8 in about 45 minutes,and,I can’t wait!

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