Super 8, written and directed by JJ Abrams, tells the story of a group of young friends / amateur movie makers. While trying to film a scene for their zombie flick, they witness a train being derailed. Strange events and disappearances follow and the gang discovers that what they’re witnessing is no coincidence, and instead a government cover up.
Super 8 parallels Stranger Things
Super 8, which was released in 2011, did well in domestic box offices but many avid fans argue that it is often overlooked today. After seeing the first season of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, which debuted back in 2016, I couldn’t help but draw many comparisons between the two works. There are the obvious similarities such as; the setting of a quiet all American town, the character of the truth seeking, fatherly police officer, the threat of a horrifying monster, and the theme of government conspiracy and lies, as well as the main cast being comprised of a group of boys and a singular girl. Super 8 and Stranger Things share small details as well. The child protagonists are all bound together over a passion, which ignites their drive to get to the bottom of what is disrupting their homes and friends. There are similar character tropes. Even the posters resemble each other.
Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things, directly cite classic 80s films such as E.T. and The Goonies as main inspirations for the writing and style of the show. Film and culture are both cyclical. Directors and writers are always going to borrow and bounce off other directors and writers. American audiences are constantly sold nostalgia, especially in film. Older generations can reflect on how life used to be, and at the same time, younger generations yearn for a time they never got to experience. When ultra popular shows and movies being made today are set in the past, it causes a resurgence of interest in a film period as well as the decade itself. In this case, the 1980s. With the 2017 remake of Stephen King’s classic It, being reset in the 1980s, instead the original setting of the 1950s, there’s no denying that audiences are eating up the 80s nostalgia. Stranger Things is a prime example of this, as well as Super 8 (even though it’s technically set in 1979…).
Even fashion mirrors this trend. Among younger generations, 80s and 90s fashion staples are becoming more and more popular. Being sold nostalgia isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Films are marketed in a lot of different ways, and it’s ultimately up to individual audience members to decide if and why they want to see or love a movie. Nostalgia is a beautiful thing! And Super 8 is chock full of it. If you’re a fan of crime solving, monster defeating bands of kids living in the 80s, you’ll like this movie.
Super 8 is showing at the Byrd Theatre on Saturday August 31, 2019 at 10 am.