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(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 48.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
November 25, 2011
November 26, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] ... is saturated with adolescent cussing

Production (US): Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Bad Robot
Distribution (US): Warner Brothers
Director(s): J.J. Abrams
Producer(s): Stephen Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Guy Riedel
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Cinematography/Camera: Larry Fong
Music: Michael Giacchino
Film Editing: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
Casting: April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg
Production Design: Martin Whist
Viewed on Warner Brothers Home Video DVD

I cannot imagine what the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was thinking or whether they were thinking at all when they rated this film. Super 8 is saturated with adolescent cussing. Front to back. Profanity flittered about 37.6 times per hour. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4] And, though I am certain the MPAA could not care less, the same adolescents saturated the movie with abuses of God's name. Adolescents use profanity more than 5 times as many as adults. And adolescents abuse God's name more than 10 times as many as adults. [Deut. 5:11]

It is appropriate to bring up God's Word about teaching and/or causing youth to sin since this film is rife with it by example. Each time one of the adolescents (or any adult) curses or uses God's name in vain it is a sin ("acting" does not excuse it). An adult ... the writer, director, et cetera ... led the child to speak the offenses (and their parents let them). Jesus told us in Luke 17:2 that the man or woman who teaches/causes a little one to sin would be better off with a millstone tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. Jesus also warns us that whatever we do to little ones we do to Him. [Matt. 25:40] One more (of zillions). God has an angel watching over each little one. That angel beholds the very face of God. [Matt. 18:10] Is it any wonder what the angels for these young performers will be saying to God? And yes, these adolescent performers are "little ones." By definition, "little one" is mikros meaning younger by birth. All your children are younger than you by birth, including your at-home teens.

I normally enjoy sci-fi films, but not this one. Not only did I not like it because of the extensive use of profanity and abuse of God's name by adolescents but because the amount of "sci-fi" in this sci-fi was minimal. Most of the time was spent on a group of six adolescents (eventually seven) doing what adolescents do, or at least what Hollywood thinks adolescents do and, by doing so, tell us what the filmmakers think of the moral caliber of the modern adolescent. One of the things the adolescents do is make a super 8 (8 millimeter chemical film) zombie movie. But to get that done, most of their antics were against the rules. Parental rules. And the law. But then, that is one of the key elements of modern filmmaking used extensively to get the adolescents, the chief source of cinematic revenue, into the theater seats. The main source of cinematic revenue? Yes. A slide presented by Loews theaters announced more than half of all moviegoers were under 17.

At a time when gasoline was $2.00 per gallon ...

... adolescent Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), son of Sheriff's Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler), sulks in pain due to the loss of his mother, Elizabeth (Caitriona Balfe) in an industrial accident at the Lillian Steel factory. Elizabeth had taken a shift of drunkard Louis Dainard (Ron Eldard) who failed to show up for work because of his drinking. Elizabeth's selflessness was a fateful mistake. She took the falling steel beam for Dainard.

Dainard knew his fault and appeared at Elizabeth's funeral to own up to it to Joe's dad who then carted Dainard off in his patrol unit leaving Joe setting on a swing set in the front yard half-buried in snow and holding a locket of his mother's.

Four month later the school year ended at Lillian Middle School and the five boys continue their work on their film. Joe was the make-up and sound man. Charles (Riley Griffiths) is the director. Cory (Ryan Lee) is the special effects/pyro man. Preston (Zach Mills) is an extra. Martin (Gabriel Basso) is the star until Charles decided he needed a stage wife to up the production value. Now, Alice Dainard (Mary Elle Fanning) enters the group. Yes, Alice is the son of the man who lives because Elizabeth took his shift at the steel mill and died for it. And yes, Elle ("El" not Ellie) is Dakota Fanning's younger sister.

One night as the crew was filming a key scene of their movie at a train station, a train approached in the distance. A train passing by as the starring duo spoke their parts! What an opportunity to boost the production value Charles screeched in his barely pubescent voice. And it worked! One could easily imagine Humphrey Bogart in his trench coat saying goodbye to Lauren Bacall on a train station platform. At least the production value of the piece was high until a man, Dr. Woodward, drove his truck onto the train tracks and intentionally collided head-on with the engine of the train, an Air Force train. That train wreck set the stage for the rest of the show by releasing something that should not have been released.

About that alien released by the train wreck. I offer a little reality to the extensive fantasy violence caused by the alien. A number of times the alien uses one of its tentacles to grab human victims from above. While quite dramatic and certainly works of cinematic excellence, sometimes the radius of the arc the victims take while in the tentacle of the alien would require a tentacle much, much longer than is seen on the alien. I doubt that I am the only one who notices such things.

"At a time when gasoline was $2.00 per gallon ..." How did I come up with that? Since you've asked I'll tell you. When the Sheriff was getting gas the pump read 20 cents at one tenth of a gallon. That's how.

One final note. The alien's face reminded me a little of the giant allergic turtle Moria in Neverending Story.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
Violence is intense at times, especially in the train wreck. Kids are severely endangered and property damage is massive. Though it is all fantasy, "fantasy" does not protect from the influence of it. Violence is violence. I am not going to summarize the violence content here any further because it is too extensive. Please look to the listing in the Findings section for a complete accounting of the violence content of this film. But I am going to share with you some of God's Word about violence.

In Proverb 16:29 God warns that violence is "catching": that it can lead one into a "way that is not good." Proverb 16:29 is just one verse of many that condemn embracing violence. In addition, hundreds of years after God's "published His findings" about violence, man plagiarized his Word about the influence of violence by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing that viewing violence in and as entertainment can, among other things, lead the observer, especially the young, into real life violence and can lead the observer to believe that violence is an effective way to settle conflict.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Fifty-six times an adolescent uses some form of profanity with one single-syllable word in particular appearing to be their favorite. Then adults add 11 more uses of profanity. If this film is fit for 13 year old children, what is it about the film that makes it fit for them? Is it because the MPAA thinks kids hear and use that kind of language every day at school? If such is true maybe it is because of films like this one that adolescents speak that way.

Note that if you use a curse-free filter when you watch movies, it would be a waste of time to watch this one. Curse-free filters typically shut off the audio upon detection of profanity. Since profanity occurs at 37.6 times per hour the audio would be shut off so much there would be little script left, making the capturing the meanings and flow of the script impossible.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
The only sexually oriented material in the entire 108.5 minutes of the programming were Joe in a bathtub and Charles' teenage sister trying to get her mother to let her wear something that shows more skin.

About taking a bath being sexually oriented, how do you take a bath or a shower? With your clothes on? Not likely -- which is the point. When "bath" happens, so does nudity. Whether the nudity is seen or not, bath/shower means "nude." Do you think "fully clothed" when "bath" or "shower" comes up? Typically filmmakers rightfully have the bath-taking character in a bathroom alone which is morally correct. Then why is it okay to invite 200,000,000 viewers into that bathroom?

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 35 out of 100
Drinking, booze, drunkenness, smoking and illegal drug consumption all appear in this film. Again, that it is "fantasy" does not protect from the influence of such imagery. In 2002 the American College of Physicians (ACP) published a report which revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    There is nothing to say that viewing smoking and consumption of illegal drugs in and as entertainment does not carry the same danger of influence as viewing drinking. Actually, the same matter of cinematic content proselytizing behavior applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
    Forty-three times an adolescent spoke God's name in vain. Four times an adult did. While each is a sin, an adolescent speaking it means s/he has been taught to speak it, typically by example. Teaching and/or causing our youth to sin invokes Luke 17:2 and other verses that warn of teaching and/or causing youth to sin. [1 Cor. 8:9]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100
    There are a number of events that could be thought of as the alien murdering humans but it is a stretch to do so. Instead the killings by the alien were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime content investigation area. There was, however, one murder. Of a human by humans. By lethal injection. Note that though the murder by lethal injection could have been incorporated by the Drugs/Alcohol content investigation area, any single event of behavior cannot be incorporated by more than one investigation area. No duplication is assured by the analysis model operating procedures.



    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence or bad example, lying to them, enticing/teasing them, seducing them and/or their thoughts, involving them in sin or crime, etc.). What do you want the angels for your kids to say to God?]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours [exousia {ex-oo-see'-ah}: power of choice (to sin or not sin)] become a stumblingblock [proskomma {pros'-kom-mah}: by which the victim is caused to sin] to them that are weak [astheneo {as-then-eh'-o}: feeble, powerless, as in ill-equipped, inexperienced or inadequately informed to process sin as sin such as adolescents].

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    SUPER 8 (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • police action violence
  • pretend zombie killing gore, repeatedly
  • driving while too young for a license, two
  • attempted suicide by train
  • long train derailment sequence with multiple adolescent endangerments
  • head injury with blood
  • firearm pointed at adolescents
  • car theft - adolescent, repeatedly
  • facial injuries, multiple views
  • motor vehicle collision with injuries
  • adolescent abduction by alien
  • destruction of government property to escape confinement
  • four adolescent trespassing
  • adolescent breaking and entering
  • alien attack/killing/abduction of humans of varying intensities, repeatedly
  • adolescent destroying school property to get in - another breaking and entering
  • action violence sequences of varying intensities, repeatedly
  • adolescents driving cars while too young to have licenses
  • sequences of massive destruction
  • human body hanging by its feet face-to-face with an adolescent
  • alien reported as eating human body
  • multiple bodies hanging by their feet
  • pretend killing of zombies by gunfire, multiple
  • pretend zombie horror, repeatedly

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 56 uses of profanity by adolescents, 11 by adults
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • lying to parents, repeatedly
  • teen disrespect of parent
  • offer to lie to father
  • endangering several adolescents
  • promise to lie to parents by multiple adolescents
  • adolescent planning to steal mother's money
  • adolescent girl sneaking out at night to visit adolescent boy
  • adolescent girl climbing into adolescent boy's bedroom at night
  • adolescent defiance of father
  • adolescent girl wishing her father was dead
  • adolescent girl running away
  • adolescent boy leading deep rescue without adult supervision or wisdom

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
  • teen girl arguing with mother to let her show more skin
  • adolescent boy taking a bath (nudity unseen)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 35 out of 100
  • drinking
  • adult offering pot to adolescent
  • smoking, twice
  • booze
  • drunkenness with emotional abuse of daughter
  • smoking dope, twice
  • drug intoxication
  • adolescent portraying drinking whiskey during rolling credits

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 43 abuses of God's name by adolescents, 4 by adults

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100
  • one murder by lethal injection

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
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    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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