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.
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!)