Super 8
Super 8 Poster
Theatrical release poster
Film information

Directed by

J. J. Abrams

Produced by

Steven Spielberg
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk

Written by

J. J. Abrams

Release Date(s)

June 10, 2011




$50 million

Gross Revenue


Super 8 was released on June 10, 2011 in conventional and IMAX theaters in the US.


In 1979, Deputy Jack Lamb (Kyle Chandler) of Lillian, Ohio, and his 14-year-old son Joe (Joel Courtney), mourn the death of his wife in a factory accident. Jack blames his wife's fellow worker, Louis Dainard (Ron Eldard), for her death, as she was covering his shift while he was recovering from intoxication the night before. Four months later, Joe's best friend and cameraman Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths) decides to produce and make a low-budget zombie movie to enter into an international film competition. Charles enlists the help of their close friends Preston (Zach Mills), Martin (Gabriel Basso), and Cary (Ryan Lee), as well as Dainard's daughter, Alice (Elle Fanning). Joe and Alice, though aware their respective fathers would be furious, become smitten with each other.

Charles decides to film one scene at the local train depot using a passing train to add authenticity to the work they filmed. While filming, Joe witnesses a pickup truck drive onto the tracks and ram the train head-on, causing a massive train derailment as they barely escape the explosion. The children investigate the wreck; Joe finds a pile of strange white cubes, and believes he witnessed something large flee the train, while the others discover the truck's driver as Dr. Woodward (Glynn Turman), their biology teacher. Woodward, barely alive, warns the children at gunpoint to never talk about what they saw that night, or else they and their families will be killed. The children flee the scene just as an armed force from the local U.S Air Force base, led by Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich), move in to secure the scene. Nelec discovers an empty box of Super 8 mm film, and assumes the event was captured on camera.

While Joe and Charles wait on the development of the film of the derailment, the town experiences strange events: local dogs run away (including Joe's dog Lucy), several people go missing, and numerous electronics components from homes and department stores are stolen. Overhearing questionable Air Force communication, Jack approaches Nelec to help quell the rising panic in town, but Nelec instead orders him secured in the base's prison. Nelec soon orders the forces to start a wildfire with flamethrowers on the outskirts of town, using it as a guise to evacuate the townspeople to the base. Meanwhile, Joe and Charles watch the footage they filmed at the derailment at his home and confirm that a large creature had fled from the damaged train.

At the base, the boys learn from a repentant Dainard that Alice has gone missing, abducted by the creature the night before, after Dainard discovered her being seen with Joe. Joe, Charles, Martin, and Cary sneak back into town, intent on rescuing Alice. They first break into Dr. Woodward's storage locker at school, discovering films and documents from his time as a government researcher. One film shows the scientists, including Woodward, experimenting on an alien creature and its spaceship, composed of thousands of the white cubes, in 1958. It is revealed that the alien crash-landed on Earth a few years earlier, and that the Air Force has been thwarting its attempts to repair its spaceship so that they can hold it captive and experiment on it. At one point in the film, the alien grabs Woodward, establishing a psychic connection with him, as explained in an audio recording by Woodward. Imbued with an understanding of the alien, he is motivated to cause the derailment and aid in the alien's escape from Earth. The boys are caught by Nelec and his men, but as they are taken back to the base by bus, the alien attacks the vehicle. Nelec and his men are killed as the boys escape back to town. Meanwhile, Jack has escaped from the base's prison and made his way to the towns-folks, learning from Preston where Joe has gotten to. Jack tells Dainard about this and they reconcile their differences and work together to get back into town.

In town, much of the military hardware has gone haywire while the Air Force Airmen attempt to kill the alien. Martin is injured in the confusion. Charles stays behind to tend to Martin while Joe and Cary head to the cemetery where a large hole leads to a series of underground caverns. In a large chamber beneath the town's water tower, the two find the alien has created a device from the various stolen electronics attached to the base of the tower, and has kept several of the townspeople, including Alice (who is still alive), hung from the ceiling as food. They free Alice and attempt to escape from the rampaging alien, but are trapped in a dead end cavern. The alien grabs Joe, creating a telepathic bond, through which Joe tries to convince the alien that it can still live after the painful events of its captivity. The alien, after a moment, releases Joe and departs, allowing the three to return to the surface.

As they rejoin their fathers, they and the military are stunned as the water tower starts acting as an electromagnet, pulling in metallic objects. The white cubes break out of their containment and form the alien's spaceship around the tower. Joe finds his locket, containing a picture of his mother and himself, being drawn towards the tower, and decides to let it go. With the spaceship complete, the alien enters it; the water tower implodes and the ship launches itself into space.

During the credits, the completed Super 8 film, titled The Case, by Charles and his friends is shown.



Super 8
Michael Giacchino
Released August 2, 2011
Recorded 2011
Length 69:84

The score for the film was composed by Michael Giacchino, Abrams' long-time collaborator. Giacchino recruited his team of conductor Tim Simonec, recorder Dan Wallin and the Hollywood Studio Symphony to bring the music to life. The soundtrack was released on August 2, 2011 by Varèse Sarabande. It won the 2012 Saturn Award for Best Music.

The compositional quality of the score was widely praised, but the score's mixing was the subject of "well-deserved bashing" from professional film music review sites such as, where editor Christian Clemmensen (and several others) found Dan Wallin's flat, dry mixing to "suck the life" from Giacchino's music.

During the final credits, the songs "My Sharona", by The Knack and "Don't Bring Me Down" by Electric Light Orchestra are featured. The Blondie song "Heart of Glass" and The Cars song "Bye Bye Love" are also featured in the film.

All music composed by Michael Giacchino.
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Super 8"   1:44
2. "Family Matters"   0:29
3. "Model Painting"   0:41
4. "Acting Chops"   0:40
5. "Aftermath Class"   5:54
6. "Thoughts of Cubism"   0:48
7. "We'll Fix It in Post-Haste"   0:44
8. "Productions Woes"   0:34
9. "Train of Thought"   0:35
10. "Circle Gets the Cube"   1:06
11. "Breen There, Ate That"   1:12
12. "Dead Over Heels"   0:48
13. "Gas and Go"   1:34
14. "Looking for Lucy"   0:49
15. "Radio Haze"   1:08
16. "Mom's Necklace"   1:33
17. "Shootus Interuptus"   2:35
18. "Thoughts of Mom"   1:41
19. "Woodward Bites It"   1:54
20. "Alice Projects on Joe"   2:29
21. "Neighborhood Watch - Fail"   4:45
22. "The Evacuation of Lillian"   3:40
23. "A Truckload of Trouble"   0:57
24. "Lambs on the Lam"   2:40
25. "Woodward's Home Movies"   2:40
26. "Spotted Lambs"   1:37
27. "Air Force HQ or Bust"   1:04
28. "World's Worst Field Trip"   3:36
29. "The Siege of Lillian"   2:57
30. "Creature Comforts"   10:10
31. "Letting Go"   5:18
32. "Super 8 Suite"   5:54
33. "The Case"   3:28
Total length:


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