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Monday, 1 August 2011

How Super Was Super 8?

I was going to write a film review on Super 8 today. But I found myself thinking about reality and happy endings instead. I will, however, share a few thoughts on the movie’s value before I kill the cat.

(Cat lovers, I apologize about this image. I’ll go hug my own cat now.)

Moving on. When I watched the trailer, I expected something completely different. You know… when I saw the alien cube and the train crash, I imagined some kind of Smallville scenario where the alien substance gives people superhuman abilities. And I thought the title referred to 8 kids with those powers.

Ha. I couldn’t have been further from the point. Super 8 actually referred to the type of camera they used to film the horror movie they were making.

(Gotta love the irony of making a horror movie and then starring in one as well.)

What I loved about the movie was how diverse it was. There were elements of action, mystery, horror, and drama, all mixed into a movie about a monster and a bunch of kids looking for adventure. I don’t know about you guys, but all of this sounds like the recipe for success to me.

Not only were the kids good actors, but the story itself proved to be solid and engaging. The horrific parts were chilling enough to remind me of how terrified I was when I watched Alien. What is more, the whole movie brought nostalgia to my eyes. I was a kid again, scared of a monster I saw glimpses of, and rooting for a bunch of kids who lived a life more exciting than my own.

And all of that with great effects and a scary-ass alien monster on top:

All in all, I loved the film. It had human elements, action adventures, and a mysterious alien who just wanted to go home… like E.T. Ahem… excuse me, I must go and cry my eyes out now.

And now comes the personal part I warned you about in the beginning:

What is wrong with me?

I just finished watching Super 8 (2011) and I rejoiced at the kids holding hands at the end. It was a lovely junior love story and so I was happy… for about 5 minutes.

Then I started wondering what you do after something like this happens: disaster, loss, alien abduction, train crash, military experiments, etc. It’s not like I see this happening in real life, at least not in this way (and I haven’t heard of aliens moving in… yet), but what if it did happen?

What do people do after the adventure part is over?

In my mind’s eye, shady scenes started forming and spreading like weeds. I saw them get married when they grow up, have a couple of kids, and then… I saw the girl start drinking like her dad. I saw the boy giving up college for his family, and stay in the small town, growing bitter and restless.

I saw them arguing about money, real estate, babysitters, and every other part of married life. Before my eyes, the cute little love story turned into a nightmare. Why did I have to spoil the idyllic film like that?

Because I have grown up and because… I’ve grown cynical. Let me ask you something. Does this always happen to people when they grow up? Does everyone suffer this tragic fate? Are there people who withstand it? To me, this gradual transformation of mine feels like alien cell bodies invading my blood. It feels like it’s not me anymore, but a bitter old lady who doesn’t see through rose-tinted glasses anymore, and whose glass is often half-empty.

This is just too sad. I’ve never wanted this to happen and I am still trying to resist it but… every time I hear a happy story, I wonder what happened next. The happy’s no longer enough. Every time I see a wedding, I imagine how tough life will be once the newlywed buzz abates. And every time I feel a spark in my stomach, I imagine how awful it would be if the object of my affection turned their back on me.

I bet I’ve gone a bit too far this time, and so I’m looking for crumbs to take me back two years in time. But don’t crumbs only work in woods? Is there such a thing as time-travel crumbs?

We all learn our lessons along the way and we often grow out of perfection and romance, but it should never turn into a twisted image of what we like to call ‘reality’. Life is as we see it. If we are brave enough to see the good and live with the bad, we could transform our lives into a half-full glass. But if we cross the line to cynical, we risk losing that little kid who believed in happy endings and the good in people.

So… how do YOU see the world? And would you like to see it any different?


Angela Wallace said...

I am cynical. That's why I write. :-P

traceyhansenwrites said...

This might be one of the best points you have ever made. I myself have grown cynical over the last few years and find myself asking the same questions. What next? That couple holding hands is cute but what happend when they are home and nobody is around? Does he have a drinking problen and she secretly cuts herself? I can't take anything at face value anymore. I also find that I trust nobody at all. It's a protection mechanism that we develop as we get older. Your childish enthusiasm for life has made room for your adult negativity. I think the key is to find a happy medium. Great post. Great food for thought.

SP Sipal said...

Very insightful Lyn. I think a lot about this as my hubbie is a half-empty POV and I'm a half-full. He keeps me grounded and I try to raise his spirits. It's difficult to look at the horrors in our world and not become cynical. But...there's always something beautiful going on as well. :-)

I think what you pointed out would make a great jump-start for a new story -- what happens to people AFTER a great adventure/major crisis.

Michael Offutt said...

Yes, it's easy to grow bitter as we age. However, as Tyrion Lannister said in "Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin, "Life is full of possibilities."

Lyn Midnight said...

@Angela Huh. Brain food. So late? It's way past dinner... *sigh*

@Tracey Omg, really? Thanks. I'm actually the same. I trust no one... on the inside. Though I am often naive... still. But I do believe House when he says that everybody lies. Just the way things are.

@Interesting. I bet this will become a story one day. Most things do. ;)

Oh and by the way, I am totally positive most of the time, but it seems that I've an angel-devil-on-shoulders-thing going on constantly. One says everything's perfect, the other complains, lol.

But I do enjoy inspirational things. I adore Positive Psychology for God's sake. Oh no.. I hope this doesn't mean I've turned on my religion or anything, lol.

@Michael I like that you said that it's easy. That's just what I thought to add but forgot. It's so easy to let things get out of control, and it's so hard to believe in the good, always. Indeed.

katherine said...

When my mind starts creating a story like the one you describe out of nothing but a suggestion, I shake it off as some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (that would mean I expect the bad), and realize I need to create. My brain is bored... :D

Sonia G Medeiros said...

Well...I'm an optimist in real life and sometimes a cruel, cruel pessimist in my fiction. :D

Leslie Rose said...

I loved Super 8. Boy those Fanning girls sure have the acting chops. I avoid cynicism by slicing off a large piece from the denial cake.

Lyn Midnight said...

@Katherine Lol! That must be the best theory of the creative process in action I've ever heard. Nice!

@Sonia Well sure, one has to complement the other. I think in my case... I am more optimistic on paper. :P

@Leslie Oh dear, it's like I am hearing my thoughts reflected. Denial is the best medicine to everything. Mark my words, they'll bottle it up one day for sure. ;)