Thoughts on J. J. Abrams’ movie Super 8

1) It’s surprisingly good. I say “surprisingly” because most heavily advertised summer blockbusters are terrible. See it in the theater if you can, ideally on an IMAX screen. I did.

2) The movie is very good at conveying a lot in a small spaceā€”the cluttered domestic scenes set up family tension. Details proliferate at the edge of the movie. Watch for video cameras and film-related objects.

3) I identify with the fat kid because he’s the artist. He’s not the hero and doesn’t get the girl. When mysterious things begin happening, he’s the one who still cares most about getting the shot. Good for him. Intense focus on “production values!” (his rallying cry) never hurts.

4) Like Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, this text speaks to other texts. For some reason, I always love the scenes where animals run away while doofus humans tarry. Someone says, “You heard what old man Woodward said,” as if the movie was a Scooby Do variant.

5) Super 8 feels like one the 12-year-old Abrams would’ve liked to make, if he’d had the skill; now he does. It’s nice to see adolescent dreams rise.

6) Ignore the plot holes and implausibilities, which are numerous.

7) Anything that disrupts electricity and electrical devices is scary. If you’re writing a novel with any kind of supernatural element, remember this. We’re still afraid of the dark, and we’re dependent on an electrical grid few of us understand.

8) Embrace the impetus to explore.

9) This is a kids’ movie primarily because there weren’t real consequences; I will leave that statement ambiguous for those who haven’t seen the movie.

EDIT: Even if you don’t normally read the comments, see those left by Jason Fisher.

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