Super 8 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Super 8 presented a terrific picture.
Sharpness seemed strong. A few shots occasionally looked a little fuzzy, but otherwise I never noticed any signs of softness. Instead, the movie looked nicely crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and no edge enhancement seemed to be evident. I noticed no signs of print flaws, as the image looked clean.
Super 8 demonstrated Hollywood’s “orange and teal” trend, though more toward the teal than the orange. Though these weren’t the only hues that appeared, they did dominate. Only rarely did the film offer tones that seemed moderately natural. However, the disc replicated them accurately, as its hues represented the flick’s design well.
As for the dark elements, they were deep and dense. I thought blacks seemed nicely replicated and presented clear, taut textures. Low-light shots came across appropriately. They looked very well-defined and delineated and made the movie quite attractive. Super 8 gave us a fine transfer.
Similar praise greeted the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Super 8. As I expect from an action picture, the soundfield offered a lot of activity throughout the film. Vehicles, explosions and other connected elements zipped all around the room in lively but natural manner.
The elements formed a fine sense of setting and immersed us in the action; the train crash was a standout, but other scenes worked well, too. Music showed good stereo presence as well, and even used the surrounds at times. The soundfield seemed broad and engaging.
No issues with audio quality materialized. Despite a lot of looping, speech was natural and concise, with no edginess or other concerns. Music sounded dynamic and full, while effects followed suit. Those elements were accurate and impressive, with crisp highs and rich lows. All in all, the audio proved to be very satisfying.
The film comes with a good collection of bonus features. First comes an audio commentary from writer/director JJ Abrams, producer Bryan Burk and director of photography Larry Fong. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character/thematic topics, inspirations and influences, cast and performances, editing and photography, music, visual effects, sets and locations, period details, and a few other areas.
While the track covers a good array of subjects, it remains spotty. That’s because it tends to meander, as the guys occasionally seem more interested in entertaining each other than delivering useful information. We do learn a fair amount about the production, but this still feels like a patchy chat.
Eight Featurettes occupy a total of one hour, 37 minutes and 15 seconds. We find “The Dream Behind Super 8” (16:23), “The Search for New Faces” (17:42), “Meet Joel Courtney” (14:29), “Rediscovering Steel Town” (18:20), “The Visitor Lives” (12:17), “Scoring Super 8” (5:24), “Do You Believe in Magic?” (4:25) and “The 8mm Revolution” (8:15).
Across these, we hear from Abrams, Fong, Burk, producer Steven Spielberg, casting directors Alyssa Weisberg and April Webster, production designer Martin Whist, executive producer Guy Riedel, production assistant Josh Foglio, Arcelormittal general manager Brian James, Arcelormittal employee Greg Blankenship, Weirton WV resident Steve Amendola, Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center executive director Dennis Jones, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren, creature designer Neville Page, visual effects supervisors Kim Libreri and Russell Earl, animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, composer Michael Giacchino, Flicker founder/8mm expert Norwood Cheek, Cinelicious EP/principal Paul Korver, and actors Ryan Lee, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Zach Mills, Gabriel Basso, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, and Noah Emmerich.
The programs cover autobiographical elements and the film’s development, influences, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, period details and production design, creature design and effects, music, and the history of 8mm filmmaking. The quality of the different featurettes varies, but most are good. We learn a fair amount about the flick’s creation in these enjoyable and informative clips.
An “interactive exploration” called Deconstructing the Train Crash shows up next. It lets us follow the scene from pre-production to production to post-production via a mix of text, stills and video clips. The information adds a good exploration of the processes used for the movie’s big action sequence, but the interface proves to be a nuisance, as it can be slow to progress through the pieces. Actually, you can use chapter skip to avoid constant returns to the main menu, but it’s still awkward.
14 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 47 seconds. With so little time per segment, none of them have the chance to add much. The majority pad out relationships among characters to a minor degree; I don’t see anything important left on the cutting room floor.
A second disc offers a DVD copy of Super 8. This is a bare-bones affair with none of the Blu-ray’s extras.
An homage to the classic Spielberg movies of the Seventies and Eighties, Super 8 displays its influences without any sense of its own vision. We get little more than a collection of references to other flicks without much to bring them together in a coherent, involving narrative. The Blu-ray delivers terrific picture and audio along with a fairly nice collection of extras. As much as I want to like Super 8, its derivative nature and lack of narrative clarity make it subpar.