We went to see Super 8 this evening. This is a film that has been getting five-out-of-five stars and wide universal acclaim. Does it live up to the hype? Well, it’s pretty good certainly but not quite that good. The cast are okay but only the latest Fanning (Elle) is outstanding.
What I really wanted to write about is how I’ve been sitting comparing Super 8 to ET since I came home. Both are set around the same time, both having a very similar style (JJ Abrahms deliberately doing a homage to Spielberg), both have young casts, both involve scientists and the army and both involve an alien stuck on earth trying to get home.
The main difference? Body count. I can’t remember anyone dying in ET but the body count in Super 8 must be at least a dozen with potentially a lot more off-screen. Some of these are directly blood-splatter-to-camera.
I’m not sure what JJ Abrams is trying to do here. Is he trying to show that we (humanity) are bad people by how we treat the alien? A stretched metaphor perhaps for how America has treated the parts of the world that now wish to blow it up? Or is is that you can just get away with showing more violence to kids these days and maybe they even expect it?
Perhaps he is going for more realism in having a ‘bad guy’ who does bad things while all the while only wanting to go home.
Any-which-way while the self-building spaceship assembles to the sound of stirring strings and flies off in a shot strongly reminiscent of Close Encounters I hope we’re not supposed to forget that the alien heading home in a blaze of light is the same one that attacked, killed and ate several completely innocent other sentient creatures – including killing two moments before lift-off.
I know we’re supposed to think about the protagonist moves on from his mother’s death and how great it is that the two fathers can finally express how much they love their kids. I only hope that somewhere in the stars there’s someone wracked by the guilt of the terrible things they did before they left earth.