Super 8 Preview: What We Thought
"You know what, let's just not show it."
That was J.J. Abrams tonight, listing all the things about the existing Super 8 footage-- temp music, unfinished special effects, scenes too long-- just before he showed it to a group of journalists anyway. You can't blame the guy for being anxious-- Abrams is a director fastidious about keeping details of his movies under his hat as long as possible, and even though the 20-odd minutes of Super 8 footage he showed us revealed virtually nothing new about the plot, and showed only the faintest glimpse of the alien creature that wreaks havoc on a small Ohio town, it was obvious he'd rather us all go into the film with no idea what to expect when it opens on June 5 .
I'm still deciding how much I want to reveal about the 20 minutes we saw-- though they gave a wonderful sense of the strong film he's building, he might be right that they reveal too much. In the meantime check out a video blog I recorded with Matt Patches immediately after the screening, standing outside the Walter Reade theater with beautiful Lincoln Center behind us. Yes, it was snowing. No, we're not that happy about it.
As you can see in the video Patches and I have slightly different ideas about how much we want to reveal from what we saw, but both of us were really impressed-- from the extended sequence we saw of the train crash that kicks off the film's action, Patches was invested because he already cared about the kid characters at the center of the film, while I was thrilled by how well-directed the action was. Even though Abrams swears the train crash sequence is way too long, it's got an economy of pacing and especially staging-- you know exactly where everyone is at every moment of the action sequence, a rare thing in these times of quick-cutting and total chaos.
I'll have more on the Super 8 presentation tomorrow, including a few details from the conversation I had with Abrams at the reception afterwards. In the meantime, check out this video for my immediate response!