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Seven Reasons To Be Excited about Abrams/Spielberg's Super 8

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood February 7, 2011 at 6:12AM

There's no question that the movie spot to break out on Super Bowl night, in all its Spielbergian glory, was Super 8 (both the trailer and spot, in which a voice warns, "Do not speak of this, if you do, they will find you") are below.
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Thompson on Hollywood

There's no question that the movie spot to break out on Super Bowl night, in all its Spielbergian glory, was Super 8 (both the trailer and spot, in which a voice warns, "Do not speak of this, if you do, they will find you") are below.

J.J. Abrams finally pops the lid off his collaboration with Spielberg via Hero Complex's Geoff Boucher. If Abrams' resume wasn't cause enough for Super excitement (exec producer-creator-writer of Lost, producer-director of Star Trek, writer-director of M:I 3), herewith we list seven reasons to be excited about Super 8 (June 10):

1. It speaks to filmmakers, young and old.
Explains Boucher:

"Super 8 takes its name from the Eastman Kodak film format that became a sensation with amateur movie-makers in the late 1960s and represented a rite of passage for several generations of aspiring directors, among them Spielberg and Abrams."

2. It's sci-fi monster fun:

Thompson on Hollywood


"...set in Ohio in 1979 and introduces a troupe of six youngsters who are using a Super 8 camera to make their own zombie movie. One fateful night, their project takes them to a lonely stretch of rural railroad tracks and, as the camera rolls, calamity strikes — a truck collides with an oncoming locomotive and a hellacious derailment fills the night with screaming metal and raining fire. Then something emerges from the wreckage, something decidedly inhuman."

3. It's a multi-genre:
Acccording to Abrams, the film is in

"...the hardest genre to define…because you could say — and be right — that it’s a science fiction movie; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a love story; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a comedy; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a special-effects spectacle. That sort of cocktail is for me what I love about movies…that was the beginnings of this movie coming together."

4. It's a hybrid:

Thompson on Hollywood


The film merges two of Abrams' ideas that were initially separate concepts: The first, Boucher describes as: "a non-fantastical tale of youngsters and the way they see the world and each other through the viewfinder of their Super 8 camera," and the second: "a spooky film about the 1970s scrutiny of Area 51 and how anxious government officials decided the best way to protect the classified possessions of the increasingly notorious military base was to ship them off to other sites aboard midnight trains — one of which never reaches its final destination."

5. It echoes E.T.:
Producer Spielberg liked the hybrid concept, because it "has a similar backbeat approach to heartache. The film begins with a small-town factory death that is very much of the real world." Adds Abrams, "“This is a movie about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice. A boy whose lost his mother and the man whose lost his wife. There’s this father who, because of the era, never really had to be the parent. He’s a good man, he works hard, he’s a deputy in the town, but he’s never stepped up as father.”

6. Abrams is keeping it old school:

Thompson on Hollywood


Says Boucher:

"While contemporary peers such as Iron Man director Jon Favreau reach out to fans, bloggers and journalists throughout the filmmaking process for a thoroughly transparent view, Abrams longs for the muscle-car days of 1979 when movies had far more mystique."

7. It's not based on anything-- just ideas:
And Abrams is nervous; "Yes we’ve got Steven’s name on it and my name on it — for what that’s worth — but we’ve got no famous super-hero, we’ve got no pre-existing franchise or sequel, it’s not starring anyone you’ve heard of  before. There’s no book, there’s no toy, there’s no comic book. There’s nothing. I don’t have anything; I don’t even have a board game, that’s how bad it is. But I think we have a very good movie.”

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Video, Daily Read, Media, Marketing, Summer, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Sci-fi, Action, Paramount/Vantage/Insurge/CBS, Trailers


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.