The Best and Worst of Super 8

Everybody kept telling me to see Super 8. Everybody kept saying, “[Dude,] it’s like a mix between E.T. and Goonies!” I have never seen E.T. nor Goonies, so this meant pretty much nothing to me. But Super 8 looked super entertaining, and so I spent around 8 super dollars to see it. My review of Super 8 will consist of the three best and three worst things about the movie, objectively speaking. (Warning: there are spoilers, for you nerds who hate spoilers.)

The 3 Best Things about Super 8

1. It has a responsible anti-drug message.
The main characters (children who are shooting a fun little zombie romance flick) take their film to be developed to this skeezy stoner who really wants to hook up with the director’s older sister. At some point, he is foolishly driving them around to fight the government or fight the alien or whatever they think they are supposed to be doing at that point in the movie, which is a very dangerous thing to do. While the kids run off to be heroes, our film developer decides to smoke a lot of pot alone in his parked car, and later decides he is too toasted to drive. So he lets the protagonist, a middle-schooler, drive. I think the moral is, stoners, if you are beyond the point of managing a car down the road, play it safe, and let a preteen drive your car.

2. The use of “The Old Switcheroo.”
The protagonist’s father is the classic small-town cop who asks too many big questions. Naturally, the Air Force arrests him for this and he successfully breaks free of their makeshift prison. But how? Well, by beating up a soldier (pilot? Airman?) and wearing his clothing around, of course! Just like on mostly any cartoon at one point or another (and Star Wars IV). If you are interpreting my tone as negative, please do not–I loved that this old, campy technique was used in this epic, mostly-serious alien adventure. Edward Norton should have dressed up as a sexy lady to stop the racial conflicts in American History X, too.

3. The kids’ movie at the end of the movie.
Seriously now, it was adorable. Be prepared to wait to see the movie that our main characters have been working throughout the course of Super 8, because it will make you really, really happy. It is, of course, deliberately poorly done, and I just love stuff like that. Whether it is “Laser Cats,” “Threat Level Midnight,” just about anything from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, or my friends’ video “Wednesday,” I love it.

The 3 Worst Things about Super 8

1. It has a responsible anti-Earth message.
OK, I don’t know if “responsible” works in this context, but I wanted to keep it similar to my first “Best thing.” If you don’t already know, there is this alien who lands on Earth and just wants to get back home. But I ask, “What’s so bad about Earth?” This question is obviously rhetorical, because there are a lot of things wrong with Earth. Clearly it is safer than THE MOON, but that doesn’t mean that a giant, metal-obsessed, telepathic alien couldn’t enjoy living here. I bet the alien might like it here if the Air Force would stop being such B-holes to it.

2. Show me the freaking monster, J.J!
J.J. Abrams loves to withhold his big epic monsters from us. He doesn’t show you all of the spidery, giant, four-nostrilled monster in Super 8, just like he doesn’t show you all of the Cloverfield monster, or whatever the thing is on Lost (to be honest, I haven’t ever seen Lost, but I hear what my friends say. Something about a mist monster or something?). Here is an image floating around online that has little or nothing to do with the Super 8 monster, but people keep posting it:

This guy doesn't look like the monster.
Here is a screenshot of the Cloverfield monster’s big face, and a lot of people are saying these two monsters look pretty similar:
Also, some lasers.
And if you aren’t paying close attention, here is what the Super 8 monster looks like during the movie:
Good Grieve.

3. I need some more explanation, please.
Maybe I shouldn’t ask for explanations to a movie that is so elaborate and outlandish in premise, but I have a hard time sitting back and letting loose ends go untied in something that is supposed to be really legitimate and good. So I ask: What was the accident that killed the main kid’s mom at the very beginning? Why did the monster land on Earth in the first place? Why was the Air Force transporting the alien? Was the giant monster really contained on that relatively tiny train? Do trains really crash and explode and destroy everything around them like that when they hit a pickup truck? Why do the lights flicker on and off when the monster is around? Why did all of the dogs (and only dogs) run away from the town the monster was in? Shouldn’t that necklace have cut the kid’s hand in half when he tried to hold on to it as it flew towards the water tower with all of the other metal in the city? What was the purpose of the little metal cube things if the monster could just control and use metal (kinda like Magneto) to build a rocket ship on a water tower? C’mon.

And seriously, go watch that video, “Wednesday” up there.

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