Alien movies are pretty much universally awesome. Even the bad ones have something going for them in the form of a grotesque, salivating creature bent on devouring some random buxom blond. Most of the time though, alien movies are just kick ass. When making an alien movie, you have two choices. Make the alien friendly or make them fearsome. Most of the time they go with fearsome. JJ Abrams decided he wanted all of the above.
I would expect nothing less from you JJ.
Since Super 8 has been out for a couple of weeks now (sorry, went to Iowa, remember?) and I just got around to seeing it last night, this review is less of a review of the movie itself and more about the experience as a whole.
What made this movie such an experience?
Well, my nerdy friends, I have four letters for you. D-Box. Learn them, remember them, go out and find them at a movie theatre near you. Only for a completely new theatrical experience (and to hang out with Hayden, my friend, and frequent companion in all things nerdy) would I drive for an hour and a half in Los Angeles rush hour traffic. Let me tell you, it was worth it. I’m not revealing a whole lot of SPOILERS, but in typical HNG fashion, I always reveal something, so beware.
When the seat rumbles to life it definitely catches you off guard. The first time it happened I thought I was sitting on my cell phone before I remembered that I was sitting in a specially designed chair programmed to move along with the action in the movie. If it had been a different movie I may have been turned on by it (haha, j/k…sort of) but luckily aliens with six appendages don’t really do it for me. At first it only moved when a car would roll by so it would surprise me every time. But once the real action started I quickly became adapted and decided that I never want to watch a movie while sitting still ever again. The train crash scene in particular was SPECTACULAR and I sat there with the biggest, goofiest grin plastered on my face while I got jerked around from side-to-side and up-and-down. Afterwards, I had goose bumps. Hayden and I kept looking at each other with those “no fucking way!” expressions you get when experiencing something totally epic.
Strangely, the theatre only had three rows of D-Box seats in it so I’m not sure how the people in the regular seats behind us managed to sit through the movie without being distracted by our rows moving around in front of them. Maybe it’s less obvious if you’re not sitting in them? All I know is that the seats are so huge that my feet didn’t touch the floor and you can’t turn and bury your head in your friends shoulder. That’s right, I was on my own with only my sweater to cover my eyes when Elle Fanning did her super creepy zombie impression (GAH!!!)
The tickets are more expensive, so heads up about that. We may or may not have pretended to be Senior citizens when ordering them online…
I guess I should stop talking about the vibrating chairs and discuss the movie already (even though I know a lot of you have already seen it and chided me for being late to the party 😉 ). This is one of those movies that has it all. Humor and horror are somehow woven seamlessly together in ways that don’t feel cheesy or forced in the slightest. The kids are hysterical. Charles and Cary in particular. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little bizarre watching Nan Flanagan play a Susie Homemaker but that was the only time I was pulled out of the story. Kyle Chandler had some nice moments when he got to play action hero but otherwise I didn’t take much notice of him. My main focus was always on the kids. Kids who showed off some extremely impressive acting skillz if I do say so myself.
Is this the ET for the next generation? No. ET touched a collective, world-wide nerve that I don’t think can be replicated. Super 8 has come closest though and really, it’s because of the kids. The alien is large and scary but that doesn’t keep Joe from making a connection with him (I’m assuming it’s a him?) and helping him get home, sacrificing his most precious possession to do so.
As Charles would say, “That was mint!”
Hayden had a strangely alien-filled week and wanted to put in his 2 cents:
“Due to my (hopefully) healthy obsession with anything extra-terrestrial or UFO related, I’m always up for a great alien invasion flick. While I honestly didn’t plan on it, I ended up taking in Evolution, Skyline, Battle: Los Angeles, Falling Skies and Super 8 in such an abbreviated time period, it would have given Ellen Ripley nightmares. Needless to say, after sitting through everything from an atrocity of a so-called movie called Skyline to the superb Super 8 in interactive motion D-Box seats, I feel like I’ve been personally probed in my hind quarters by a group of blind Predators. While “Alien Week” was fun and educational, I’m ready to change course for awhile so please excuse me while I grab a hemorrhoid pillow and a bag of ice as I throw in a copy of Disney’s Tangled into my Blu-Ray player for the next 27 days.”
I give the experience as a whole 4.5 out 5 sci-fives!