Thursday, 17 May 2012

Super Eight

Resisting Leveson and as tension built over sporting interests I watched Super Eight by mistake having intended to download another film from Sky Anytime. The film has echoes of ET and the Giant spider hoarding humans as food in Lord of the Rings rather than Close Encounters. A group of talented adolescents (ET style)  are into making Super Eight Horror movies back in 1979 before the digital era when school breaks up for the summer, and they enlist the help of a girl for the movie to be shot at the town’s railway station after midnight.

When they see a train coming they include the train in the filming only to witness a lorry confront the train head on. The train is derailed with dramatic effect and they narrowly escape. They approach the lorry and find the driver not only alive but their science teacher who advises them to say nothing or they and their parents will be killed. The military then move onto the town in a big way and a number of extraordinary things happen, an exceptional magnetic field which appears to destroy automotive engines as well as throwing metal all over the place, and a number of individuals disappear, while electrical power and instrumentation goes haywire.

The film is fast moving with lots of dramatic action and a crescendo of an ending, This is the basic plot. In the later 1950‘s two decades earlier a space ship crash landed from another planet with a being akin to a giant spider/bat creature captured alive although how this happened is never explained or why the authorities decided to contain in the way they did. There was a special episode of the X Files where a creature was moved by train. The space ship breaks up or down into small plastic white interlocking pieces which are carefully stored by military in containers.

The science teacher worked on the project and at one moment established a psychic connection during which he learned that the entire creature wanted to do was to gather the materials to create a tower to reassemble his space craft to return home.  Instead of cooperating the authorities imprison in order to try and learn about the creature and his space craft technology without success over the following two decades. It is not explained why the creature and his craft was being moved or how the science teacher came to know of the plan in advance and prepare for the event in order to free the alien and provide a base for it to create the tower and ship craft via an assortment of any metal coming into its orbit as well as having the power to affect electricity. The basic power appears to be that of moving objects at a distance, telepathy with humans and connecting with available energy.

There is a relevant sub plot in which the young daughter the local always getting into troubled man whose wife left home years before is in conflict with the deputy sheriff and father of the boy who did the makeup and created the models used in the film making. They have also the mother/wife who at first I thought had been the former wife of the other man and then that he had been involved in the situation at work when she had died accidentally. I failed to work out/understand this aspect. The two young people form an attachment which continues despite both parents ordering the young people not to have contact with each other.

With the creature lose and the local community terrorised without knowing what is happening, the deputy has to take over when the Sheriff “disappears” and he is the one who suspects there is more going on than the military are advising and discovers that the fire which caused the town to be evacuated was caused by them. The scientist teacher was captured alive but dying and refuses to reveal that it was young people who were on the scene. The military have the evidence from a packet of empty film and tyre tracks that others were present filming the event.

When the young heroes see the creature on the processed film and learn of the girl is taken after having a  row with her father they go back into town to search for her appreciating that the starting point must be with the school office and home of the scientist. The deputy sheriff is taken into custody when he voices his suspicions but manages to break out and enlists the help the girl’s father to search for their children. The gang discover the hideout of the creature and his food store of human’s similar to that of the giant spider in Lord of the Rings but in this instance the young hero establishes a connection with the creature who lets them go and ET like he completes the creation of a his space craft with the white pieces; A fantastic Lego which transforms magically at the top of the town of metal junk for launching before disappearing into the heavens.

While this is happening the military has sent in their tanks and rocket launchers which have gone haywire and destroyed half the town. Unlike Close Encounters the authorities are portrayed has frighten incompetent and fascist without curiosity caution and care. Parents and children are reunited among the final mayhem.

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