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Super 8


Kids & aliens revisited

The year’s first kids’ movie is also the first movie with kids taken seriously in Hollywood in some time. Nowadays, animation seems to have replaced this genre. If the genre is making a comeback, we should know why it matters. In fact, we should know even if it has been replaced. Children used to adventure in the adult world…

Sentimentality apparently seems to help teach the young boy whose mother’s funeral opens the movie to live on. Obviously, he cannot get along with his sheriff father. But by the end, they will be reconciled. Perhaps nothing reminds us of how much we love one another in a family like risk of life & limb… But taken seriously, how do movie directors know how to teach us how to live our lives?

A couple of kids shooting an improvised movie with barely any story as a train wreck creates chaos around them might put you in mind of Hollywood, especially if the kid in love with making movies is continuously worried about the competition for the upcoming school contest &, of course, production value. This should then be a comedy; you would see Hollywood from a distance – you would see what drives boys to become moviemakers. Already, it seems, twelve-year-olds understand pretty girls belong in the movies.

When the camera starts rolling, our attention moves from the things to their images. The town is transformed. Of a sudden, the Midwest becomes the unwanted home of a fight between the gov’t & an alien. We are let know that the army is the bad guy; but this time we see the alien is a danger himself. The alien’s best friend was a doctor-scientist whose friends are the kids. One is the moviemaker; another, the protagonist, builds train models; another plays with firecrackers. The alien’s science appeals to these boys. The movie makes power beautiful. This is one way to put poetry & science together. But does it not suggest that the mother is replaced by science? Or maybe it suggests that science is replaced by the poetry of the movies…

The resemblance to E.T. should shed light on both movies. Added to the sentimentality is a lighthearted approach to the plot. – Perhaps the director is avoiding the necessity of the plot in order to spare feelings. The sense of mystery & the instinctive understanding of the audience’s perspective replace plausibility & realism. It would seem to be a kind gesture to make kids’ lives seem more adventurous. Like Spielberg, Abrams seems to try to show us what the world looks like when you are alive to the need for extraordinary success.

A fun movie about kids