Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Few Questions For J.J. Abrams

(And one question for you, Dear Reader: You do understand, don't you, that the following will contain revelations of Super 8 plot points that may cause you disappointment or distress if you have not yet seen the film and if you are the kind of viewer who loves your surprises?)

So, Mr. Abrams, I enjoyed your Super 8 film, very fun and exciting, very good casting of the young kids, but I had a few lingering questions I cannot shake.

Are Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning) half-brother and sister? You know, the main kid and the older girl who grow closer over the course of the film. Was there an earlier version of the script that revealed their mother left the boy's father-sheriff for the girl's blond bad-boy father Louis (Ron Elard)? Why does Louis react so strongly to seeing Joe with Alice? Why did the neighbors say of the sheriff, "He has never had to be a dad before"? Was there an earlier version of the script that explained all this?

No? No? Am I stretching about the sibling thing? Well, then, why was the relationship between Joe and Alice so chaste? No kiss, no passionate hugging, just one grasp of hands and the line, "I feel like I know you" that read more like a Luke Skywalker - Princess Leia kind of affection than an adolescent boy crushing on a pretty fourteen year old from school.

AND did the monster really eat people? There's only one crunching sound late in the film and a shot of a bloodless foot, but we have not felt a great deal of menace from the alien -- he sneaks up and grabs people, but for all we know, it could be so they could communicate with it, and understand it and help it.You may have answered this one for MTV, but if it does eat people, why then did it have a psychic connection with them? Being eaten by a extra-terrestrial and feeling empathy for it don't really go hand in hand.

AND Mr. Abrams, why did you choose to end the climactic scene -- the one when Joe, caught in the monster's claw, communicates with the creature -- by having the monster get distracted by a signal from his spaceship? Could there have been another way to go, perhaps in a more heart-felt, less half-assed direction than "Okay, you can live because my Phone-Home is ringing?"

Could you have built up the human-alien relationship a bit more by making the kids help the alien get home -- I know, I know, I bet you discarded this kind of possibility because you wanted to avoid making a redux of E.T., but really, it would help if you had given the kids something to do besides just rescue the girl -- who we are not really sure is in peril (see bloodless foot above.)

Since Joe and his buddies don't have anything to contribute to the monster's escape, and since there's no relationship there, what did you envision the audience to be feeling when we watch the monster climb aboard the ship and take off? Relief that the danger is over? Regret because an opportunity for education and friendship has been lost? Wonder over the amazing spectacle of the ship itself? Or just, "Oh look at the cool way it crawls into the cool ship"?

Thanks, Mr. Abrams. And again, great casting. That blond kid with the braces who likes to blow up firecrackers is awesome.

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