Sci-Friday #115 – Making of Super 8 – Fun Scifi Stuff

Getting warmer out there as we move into summer, so for this Sci-Friday let’s revisit some fun scifi stuff by watching the Making of Super 8. It’s ten years old now, and still remains one of the best non-Spielberg Spielberg movies you’ll ever watch. Kick back and enjoy the Making of Super 8 movie below:

Super 8 isn’t for everyone. I posted a Reddit thread about the movie and was surprised to find that many people were put off by the way the story was structured. CrittersRules for example, felt that ‘It was also a mistake to focus on the character who’s mourning his mom’s death. Spielberg movies have big loud families with dogs and annoying siblings etc. In this case it’s just him and his father, and TBH they’re just a huge bummer.’ trackofalljades also had this to say: ‘I […] was completely on board for it until the part of the third act when you actually see the reused Cloverfield monster design up close…then it totally fell apart for me so badly I would compare it to the “water revelation” part of Signs. It took a hard turn from beautiful homage into mocking failure.’

I’m in the other camp. I loved Super 8 for it’s heavy emotional beats:

  • Loss of a parent
  • Coming-of-age kid reconnecting with his distant father
  • Kids shaped by family conflicts beyond their control
  • Previous generations’ Coming-of-age experiences, and how different they are from now
  • That experiential magic of discovering your creative talent for the first time

Having lost my parents, my heart ached when the protagonist kid (Joel Courtney) watched that old movie of him as a baby with his mother. Later, when his father finally hugs him and his eyes close. He lost his mother, but he got his dad back. Oh man, the feels.

Super 8 says, quietly but urgently, that men, boys, fathers, and sons suffer when they can’t express their emotions but that this is a fixable problem without the big Hallmark moment. It also says that growing up is something precious, to be nurtured and treasured. All those silly moments where the boys argued and threw Twizzlers at each other before sneaking out on a summer night in somebody’s borrowed car. They’ll remember that for the rest of their lives and we get the message: The time you spent with your friends, even if it was doing nothing, was never wasted. Finally, I connected the small plot of the adults watching helplessly as a child they cared about suffers unimaginable loss – his best friends’ parents were dorky but you could tell they cared about the protag and wanted to do the right thing.

On the surface, the movie doesn’t seem like much but like every other JJ Abrams’ project, it’s got hidden depths.

So if you’re looking for a hot-summer-night movie to enjoy, look no further than Super 8. I hope you enjoyed the making of Super 8, and if you like this kind of fun scifi stuff, I have more to share. Dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!