Friday, June 17, 2011

Super 8 and Alien Anger Management Issues

The new J.J. Abrams movie "Super 8" could have been called "Cloverfield Goes to Steeltown and by the Way I Really Like Stephen Spielberg," but that doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, and it doesn't fit on the screen any easier than its rampaging (but mostly absent) extraterrestrial star.

Basically a monster movie set up as an homage to Spielberg's "ET: The Extraterrestrial," "Super 8" is less sugary and hopeful than Spielberg's alien offerings, but tamer and less noisy than Michael Bay's roller coaster ride of back to back explosions (i.e. "Transformers").

Oh, there's lots of explosions and noise in "Super 8," but the young actors are great and the story is good too.

I liked it.

But then, I like ALL monster movies, with alien movies being a close second, so you can't totally trust my judgment.

Watching "Super 8," it did hit me how much aliens have changed since Spielberg first gave us that cute little bug-eyed thing with a glowing finger and a heart light. By the time "Close Encounters" came out, aliens were still friendly, though more mysterious.

But then we got the "Alien" series with Sigourney Weaver and that black bitch creature dripping acid (really they were mirror image bitch creatures, very cool, Ridley), and then came the Predator series, and then "Independence Day", so that today, 30 years post-Super-8 setting (Super 8 takes place in the 80s, when Abrams came of age), you can pretty much count on aliens being pissed off, even if it is only because they are so misunderstood.

So basically, we've seen aliens morph into really scary incarnations of the Goddess: Kali, maybe. And that's interesting because 4,000 years ago the Goddess is exactly who these big-eyed critters served. (See image, left.)

Monsters are almost always about the Goddess or an incarnation thereof, and the connections in "Super 8" are obvious enough to knock you out.

(I won't spoil the movie by describing any of them here.)

"Super 8" isn't a great movie, and it isn't Spielberg, but it isn't "Lost" either. It's a fantastic 'B' movie though. I hope more are in the works.

If the 'B' monster movie comes back, I will be one happy camper.

In the meantime, go see "Super 8" if it's really hot out and you need a break.

Take the kids. Buy popcorn.

Just don't expect an epiphany. (It's a MOVIE for chrissakes!)


  1. I just thought that I would stop by and read some of your articles. I don't intend to watch the movie, but I like this article. Keep going!

  2. Thanks! The movie isn't a 'must see'. Might as well wait for it to come out on DVD or cable. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I came here by way of "Paranormal Popcorn" (is that blog kaput now?) I love the works of Harpur, Keel, Vallee, Coleman (I was the one who told him about the Shunka Warak'in), and others. Hansen's work on the Trickster and the Paranormal is fantastic!

    I love your writing, but here I distinctly remembered seeing the mysterious "Close Encounters" as a teen long BEFORE friendly E.T. came out. So I checked. And yep, "Close Encounters" came out in 1977 when I was still a teen (17), and E.T. came out when I was 22 (1982). So you might want to rethink the sequence thesis of cute -> mysterious -> threatening. Here's the sequence of the films/series you mention.

    Close Encounters (1977)
    Alien (1979)
    E.T. (1982)
    Aliens (1986)
    Predator (1987)
    Predator 2 (1990)
    Alien 3 (1992)
    Independence Day (1996)
    Alien Resurrection (1997)
    Alien vs. Predator (2004)
    Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
    Cloverfield (2008)
    Predators (2010)
    Super 8 (2011)

    PS. The Cloverfield monster reminds me in scale of the huge last monsters seen shambling across the landscape in the movie The Mist (2007). As described in Wikipedia, "A very large creature with six legs. Other than the legs, with hundreds of the aforementioned small flying creatures attached to them, this creature is unseen. Although the creature's exact size is never specified, David gets the impression that its size would make a blue whale resemble a trout if both were posed together, and its weight is sufficient to leave six-foot-deep footprints the size of a large SUV in solid concrete."
    Now these "Mist" monsters in turn remind me of the monsters in H. P. Lovecraft, etc..

  4. Cool article. I like how you made the connection between Kali and those strange creatures. :)

  5. Lance, what an awesome comment!

    I am in the process of recreating my blogs so "Paranormal Popcorn" will get absorbed into a new blog about imagination and imaginary creatures, and this blog will get moved to my own website which is under construction.

    It's weird to admit this, but I rarely stop to think that people might actually be reading my blogs and thinking about them. I always feel like I'm kind of talking to myself and about three other people (Ann is one of them), but that's not necessarily true. I really appreciate your corrections, your thoughts, and your interest.

    I am a rabid Lovecraft fan as well.

    I promise to post the new URLS here when I get the new sites up and running.

    It won't be long. :)