BRIAN: One of the main problems with this movie is that you really don’t give a fuck about what happens to the alien. If they blew it to pieces instead of it flying away in its ship, would you have cared at all?
Another things that was weak was the alien flying away would have happened with or without that kid interacting with it. All he did was save the girl, but all of those other townspeople are presumably dead. And if they didn’t die, then the kid got the sheriff and that other woman killed.
BRAD: I read another quick review that brought up something that bugged me while I was watching the movie but it didn’t hit me until the reviewer brought it up was how the alien didn’t much matter regardless in the whole movie. And he was piss-poorly conceived and his motivations unclear. When he was needed to be aggressive he was a monster but when he was needed to be smart and thoughtful he was a good alien. Plus his design didn’t fit the time period for me. That sounds like a hug nitpick but it was a mini-Cloverfield monster and it didn’t help me transport me to the late ’70s in my mind while watching the movie. It seemed totally out of place for me.
BRIAN: Yeah like at the end the kid is all smiles that the alien was able to leave and the girl was like, “He just wants to get home!” But he did kill a bunch of people and basically destroy their entire town. So what was so nice about him?
And you’re right about the design. It seems like J.J. Abrams only knows how to make one monster. This one looked just like Cloverfield and a lot like the one in Star Trek right after Kirk lands on that snow planet. A big Chewbacca would have been better.
BRAD: Why is it aliens are smart enough to build ships that can travel millions of light years but they never ever need clothes?
BRIAN: No clothes, plus you never see a big alien wiener flopping around. They’re all asexual.
BRAD: And why exactly did the Air Force baddie kill the middle school teacher? How and why can he justify his death? Did he think that just because both the alien and the teacher shared a mental link that if the teacher died the alien would die? Other than showing that the baddie is a complete asshole that it was very weak to kill off the teacher.
BRIAN: The octopus was very scary.
BRAD: It’s all over once we hitch a ride on the alien’s magnetic ship.
BRIAN: How about we put chocolate sauce on the ground and let Charles eat his way through to the alien’s lair?
Another thing that didn’t make much sense: Why were they transporting this super-dangerous alien in the first place? Why on a train? And why on the SAME train as the parts of his ship, which they desperately want to keep him away from?
Plus, how did the teacher know that stopping the train like that wouldn’t have just killed the alien?
Plus plus, if the alien just punched through the door to get out after the train crash, why didn’t it just do that before? And wouldn’t the army know that it would be capable of that?
Plus plus plus, was that fucking truck filled with atom bombs? Wouldn’t the train have just ripped through it, with no explosion?
BRAD: Why would the AIR Force even have a TRAIN?!
And what a lucky coincidence for the middle school teacher who used to work with the same Air Force research team that they were transporting the same alien stuff he worked on right through his new town and he was able to narrowly survive his suicide mission to save the alien.
How long was he planning this scheme? “I guess I’ll just suck it up for a few years as a lowly middle school teacher until that train comes along.”
And if the train mission was so important why wasn’t the main baddie there to make sure it traveled unharmed? And when it did derail why did the air force run to the crash?
I think above all that train crash, as impressive as it was, was outright ridiculous. I even said that while watching it. The train must’ve been traveling at the speed of sound to derail that catastrophically.
BRIAN: The Air Force base was basically right outside of town, right? Was it supposed to be the same Air Force base where the alien had been for decades? Since the Air Force responded within a few minutes, with the main bad guy with them, it has to be. Then why the map of all the train stops, if it was coming from the base a few miles away?
BRAD: THE AIR FORCE IS USING A FUCKING TRAIN to transport a fucking alien and it’s ships parts 2,000 miles and it isn’t even a good train that can withstand impact with a Ford pickup truck.
I thought it was coming from Area 51? Was the final destination outside Dayton, Ohio? And why exactly did they need to relocate a 20+ old alien from a highly secure air force base such as Area 51 to a rinky dinky base in east bumblefuck?
BRIAN: Was it Area 51? I honestly don’t remember. Maybe they should have used a plane...
[after this first conversation, Brad (very reluctantly) sees the movie again two days later…]
BRAD: It definitely never needs a second viewing, especially 2 days later. I think what bugs me most about this flick is that there is a feeling that all the emotional aspects of this movie is so forced and weak. The father embraces his son at the end and says: “I got you.” He was absent for most of the movie and did nothing to drive the plot at all. But we as an audience are supposed to feel like the son and father are now all of a sudden in a great relationship. It’s weak as shit story-telling. Also the kid was supposed to closer to the mother but a mere 4 months after her untimely and horrific death he seemed to be in a fine state for a 11-year-old. Even when Elle Fanning forces him to watch the home movie of he and his mom the kid never sheds a tear. Whatever.
I did find some other things to nitpick. The train crash is far more ridiculous the second time around. So is the rogue tank attack on the town. Those two scenes make Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay blush they are so over the top. The fight between the fat director kid and the main kid comes virtually out of nowhere and when exactly was the director kid going to state his intention of ever eluding to liking Elle Fanning, also a useless plot point out of nowhere and is rendered null and void within the 5 minutes of being brought up. The main kid really didn’t even get the girl by the end of the movie save for a hug and a hand-hold.
The FN alien has to be the worst alien in movie history. They gave no backstory whatsoever to him being on Earth. Somehow they figured out he was subterranean while being detained by the USAF how I haven’t a clue. Did they let him go free in the backyard of Area 51 and noticed he was digging a tunnel underground? He escapes the train very easily as you pointed out after the train crash and goes into hiding only coming out to collect metal and electronic trash and for some human hunting. He could’ve attacked the small band of USAF officers and his main nemesis Nelec right after the train crash but only chooses to kill him in the bus. It seemed like Nelec was more concerned for the alien spacecraft parts and Woodward’s research than actually capturing the alien who was running around town attacking people and scaring off the dogs [and only the dogs it seems]. Why did he want Woodward’s research so bad anyway? What did Woodward have that Nelec didn’t? Up until the train crash Nelec had both the alien and the ship parts so what did the 15-year-old research matter now all of a sudden? Was he always looking for Woodward but couldn’t find him even though he was hiding in clear-view as a middle school biology teacher? And didn’t Woodward think his plan through enough to know that even though he could free the alien from the train with a train crash on the flipside he could’ve killed the alien with that same crash? And if succeeding freeing the creature wouldn’t the alien be responsible for killing people?
BRIAN: Yeah I remember thinking when he said, “I got you…” that the kid didn’t need to be gotten at all, he did just fine on his own. And you’re right, what did the dad do at all? All he really did was question the USAF, then got thrown in the clink, then escaped, then caught up with the kid after everything was over. He uncovered absolutely nothing. And the drunk dad’s “redemption” was hitching a ride with the cop dad at the end. Then everything was ok between him and the dad. He told the kid that the alien took the girl, but the kid knew about the alien, and probably could have figured out on his own that it took the girl. So parents are 100% useless in the movie.
The “I liked her!” scene was just to give those two a little conflict, that was quickly dissolved and never resolved. Like almost everything on Lost.
And the problems with Woodward are endless. He knew absolutely nothing that anyone else involved in that alien project didn’t know, except that he got touched by the alien once, and understood that it wanted to rebuild its ship and go home. Well no fucking shit. I thought it wanted to get a job washing dishes in Area 51’s kitchen. So Woodward basically nearly committed suicide, could have killed the alien, likely killed the poor bastard train conductor who was just doing his job, plus any other passengers or crew on board (despite what the movie wants you to believe, not all USAF servicemen are evil; in fact, the movie kind of pisses on our boys in uniform, fucking commie shit!) just so the alien MIGHT rebuild his ship and go home. Why did he love this alien SO much?
Here’s another thing. You hit it dead on when you pondered why the alien didn’t just kill Nelec and the other USAF guys right after the crash. Yeah, why didn’t it do that, THEN take the parts from his ship and put it together, BECAUSE THE PARTS WERE RIGHT FUCKING THERE? Apparently it only takes a couple of minutes for the ship to come together. So why did this seemingly indestructible alien run away and go through all that gathering spare parts, collecting people and building a generator shit?
BRAD: If that fat kid says MINT one more time!
Another thing I found funny was after the mom dies the father tries to convince the kid to go to baseball camp for the summer. I scoured that kid’s bedroom throughout the movie and not ONE shred of evidence he even liked sports of any kind. I’m going to assume the filmmakers didn’t do that on purpose because the rest of the movie doesn’t have that kind of attention to detail. I’d like to believe it was to show how detached the father is from his son but I highly doubt it.
Speaking of the kids rooms, there was just one, ONE hidden Star Wars poster in the main kids room and it didn’t even look like an official poster. All that’s shown is the words Star Wars and its in a font like Arial, not the iconic logo. Very strange that these kids, highly interested in movies and space wouldn’t have a room like I did littered with Star Wars stuff. Remember Elliott’s room in E.T.? It was basically a commercial for the toys! But the Joe kid in Super 8 had a Grateful Dead “Keep on Truckin'” poster?! How many kids in middle school in 1979 were into the Grateful Dead? Nitpicking? Sure. But it’s the attention to detail that really makes a movie more interesting. In Super 8’s case it hurt it for me.
BRIAN: He should eat a mint every time he wants to eat a cheeseburger!
Yeah in 1979 for a kid who loves sci-fi/fantasy/horror films his room should be exploding with Star Wars and Jaws and Dawn of the Dead and all that shit. The Keep On Truckin’ poster seemed really forced to me too. It made no sense for that kid. Unless he bought it after his mom died to remind himself to keep on trucking.
Tonight when I get home I’m going to run up to my daughter and embrace her and say, “I got you…” even though I had nothing to do with her day.
BRAD: I just made myself a cup of tea and I looked at it before I took a sip and told it, “I got you.”
Another thing to nitpick was remember when the electromagnet was attracting all the metal at the water tower and the one soldier’s gun was getting pulled so hard it pulled him up into the sky? Well that was fine but after the ship took off they showed the aftermath and I’d say about 80% of the soldiers still had their weapons. And I’m sure there was a ton of other metallic stuff not attracted but it really needed that locket from the kid.
BRIAN: That street was full of metal things that didn’t move. And if I’m not mistaken, unless that was a cheap dime-store necklace, doesn’t steel get attracted to magnets far more powerfully than a precious metal like silver? If it took something as small as the locket, wouldn’t people’s fillings be getting ripped out of their teeth, or like a Nam vet’s steel plate gets ripped out of his head? That would have been awesome.
BRAD: I thought the same thing about silver or other precious metals being attracted by magnets. I’m not 100% sure though but seeing how much attention to detail the filmmakers put into Super 8 I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re right about this.Score: 2.8 super-magnetic lockets (out of 8)