For the life of me, I can’t remember which movie it was last year that had this movie’s teaser trailer attached to it, but when I watched it, all I could think was… this could be anything. It could have been a sci-fi horror flick, it could have been a monster movie… it could even have been a dark superhero film (yes, I was thrown off by the “Super” in Super 8. I never had that camera as a kid, so sue me). All you really got from the teaser was that something crazy was on that train and it was just about to break out.
So today, I found the full trailer. Take a look:
So, a couple things off the bat.
- You know Spielberg produced this because it has wide-eyed kids on bikes, the government taking control of an mysterious situation and an apparently single parent doing the best he can.
- You know J.J. Abrams directed it because we haven’t seen any of the… thing. Whatever it is.
- You also know J.J. Abrams directed it because of the lens flare.
- Oh, and I still don’t know what this movie is about.
But I think that last point is intentional on the filmmakers’ part. If they showed you what it was from the first trailers, there wouldn’t be any anticipation for it on screen (which is my biggest beef with the newer Clash of the Titans). Spielberg did it with Jaws (although that was a lucky accident considering he didn’t want the malfunctioning puppet to be seen too much on camera), and Abrams did it with Cloverfield. I still wish I knew more about the actual events after the accident, but again, they want you to be curious enough to get into the theater.
I think what bugged me about the trailer is the music choice… does it seem ET-like to you? I know it kind of fits (again, wide-eyed kid, amazing abnormal phenomenon, single parent, government interfering, etc.), but looking at the trailer, it doesn’t seem like an inspirational sort of sci-fi film. If you take away the music and just keep the video and dialogue, the trailer is full-on horror movie. You see a guy get dragged screaming through a drug store and cars blowing up left and right! With that mystical, but still pretty heartwarming score, it just feels… off. It makes me wonder if the “thing” isn’t attacking people – and maybe dogs – but just abducting them ala Close Encounters (again, Spielberg). Look at the synopsis put online by Paramount:
In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.
Just from the synopsis handcrafted by the studio, we’re lead to believe that the terrifying thing is whatever escapes from that train. But isn’t that just a little too easy? And Spielberg has a array of movies that show the government assuming they can handle things their way (ET, Close Encounters, even the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark). I’m going to guess that the “thing” was either made by the government or found and experimented on by the government. I’m also guessing it’s dangerous if provoked, but not violent.
After writing up to this point, I found out that in the trailer – the part towards the end when you see the camera again – you can see the web address www.s8editingroom.com. Yep, it’s a viral site… did you expect anything less from Abrams? There’s not much there just yet, but there are a few seconds of video. It’s of a government research tape. Like I said, there are only a few flashes of the video (most of it just says “clip missing”), but we do hear that there was some kind of craft, a prompt dates the footage from September of 1962 (17 years before the film’s timeline) and there’s mention of “cubes” and the things’ amazing biological attributes, although the video cuts out right before we get to hear what those are. I also caught a screenshot of one of the scientists (pictured above). I have no idea if she matters to the story or the movie directly, but she caught my eye for some reason. And if she is in the movie as a surprise, I get to say I noticed her first.
I’m still leaning that the aliens – yeah, I’m just going to come out and say they are probably aliens – are not malicious, but are protecting themselves. It’s just the pattern of Spielberg. What I do like about what I’ve seen are the kids. I think most people can relate to wanting to do something fantastic with your friends during the summer. Some of the parts with just the kids in it reminded me of The Sandlot, probably because of the nostalgic feel to the trailer. And no, it’s not just because of the chubby kid (although I’ve already seen people online mention The Goonies, too).
Seems like there are more and more previews that you don't know what the movie is about at the end of them these days.