The extra stops pretending to talk on the phone the moment he notices the acting talent of the lead actress (Elle Fanning), and watches her like everyone else. Her acting partner has also difficulties to remember his lines, and stumbles them to her her, making his line much more convincing. The crew behind the camera is also amazed, director Charles (Riley Griffiths) probably never thought about what his newest star was capable of. At the end of the rehearsal she asks him whether it was any good, to what he answers a mumbled “it was ok”.
The following train-crash defies all laws of physics, as our protagonists run for survival. The fallen Super 8 camera is still running, and documents the special effect event. Something escapes the train, something large.We never see it fully, even when it is right in front of the protagonists (great camera, lighting and CGI-work, folks!). Our protagonists don’t know what’s going on, militars are taking hold of the town, people disappear, household goods get stolen, scared dogs run far away…there is something rotten in the town of Lillian.
The times are changing
The revelation comes when the boys look at their developed material – days later – and realise what they have witnessed. You remember the time, when you weren’t able to view your fotos or filmmaterial right after making them? It took hours – days – to develop them and be able to see what you have got. In movies like Blow Up (1966, by Michelangelo Anonioni) or Blow out (1981, by Brian de Palma) the protagonists only realise they were victims of a crime some time later in their studio. In “Vantage Point“, Dennis Quaid’s character is able to review the assassination right after it happened because of the tourist’s digital camera. How times are changing…
We audience know what is going on, we have seen the monster in action and therefore know what it is capable of (more or less), but Joe (Joel Courtney) and Charles needed that affirmation, as well as this moment of revelation for their friendship.
two movies – one message
Super 8 is actually two stories in one film: the one is a movie about father issues, as the main characters struggle with their parents, who think to know what the best for them is. It’s a movie about a generation conflict. Joe and his deputy father have to find a way to understand each other again, after the accidently death of Joe’s mother. At the same time Alice (Elle Fanning) has to deal with her alcoholic father, who is kinda responsible for the death of Joe’s mother. The fathers transmit the faults of the parents onto their children, and hurt them without realising it.
The other story is the alien monster that is running lose in the town of Lillian. The two stories don’t clash, but merely touch each other when one of the kids gets kidnapped by it.
Many people might be annoyed by the fact that the two stories don’t relate to each other, but that’s not the pojnt. To some extend the two storeis DO relate: They are stories about misunderstood and mistreated people, to which bad things happen to. They have to accept what’s going on, and become stronger by it. The line that says it all is “Look, bad things happen. But you can still live“, associated with the image of “letting go”.
One director trademark of Abrams is the team-up with composer Michael Giacchino, who once again composed a beautyful soundtrack.
The children actors are great, much better than the grown-ups (which aren’t bad either), but Elle Fanning acts everyone against the wall. She is so terrific, she definitely deserves an oscar-nomination in my opinion. good to see that acting talent lies within the family.
Super 8 is a thrilling sci-fi-mystery-coming-of age-drama, what should definitely be watched.