J.J. Abrams has a very good understanding of what made the very first Star Wars film, A New Hope, work. Right from the start, that film had mystery after mystery, and took you on a ride. It answered some questions while raising more.
Watch this video from a Ted conference a few years ago, called The Mystery Box. It’ll give you a very good idea of what drives the stories that Abrams tells, and what’s behind the choices he makes. In it, you’ll also see a scene that he considers to be one of the greatest scenes of all time, from the movie Jaws. And it’s not a scene that people normally think of when they think about that movie.
Super 8 is a film that is rich with many layers of depth. It is a love-letter to the inspiration of making movies and provides a lot of heart to match. After seeing the film, I ordered the score, composed by Michael Giacchino. Giacchino has worked with Super 8 director J.J. Abrams on every project since Alias.
Having seen the film three times, each time getting something new out of the movie, I found the music and characters began to resonate with me more and more. Perhaps it’s because my childhood was somewhat similar, but for whatever reason, the themes that the film contained touched me.
The music, masterfully composed by Giacchino, is both reminiscent of the music of John Williams and entirely original. The first time you hear the music in the film is with the studio logos, before the movie even begins, and I can remember feeling that music already transporting me back to my childhood.
It is then that the film begins, with a loss that hangs over the whole film: an accident at a plant that takes the life of Joe Lamb’s mother. It is this beat that sets up the emotional journey of Joe, as he sets off through the summer, trying to be a kid while also trying to deal with the loss of his mother and a father that doesn’t know how to be there for him. Joe holds tightly to a locket that had belonged to his mother and finds it difficult to move on. He finds himself on a journey of discovery as an alien is loose in his small town. The culmination of his journey is in the moment that he confronts the alien face to face.
“Bad things happen,” he says, “but you can still live.”
It’s been 27 years since the film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was released in theatres. In 2002 it had a re-release featuring newly added scenes that were shot all that long ago, but didn’t make it into the final film due to technology limitations.
Now it appears that E.T. 2 is secretly in the planning stages. What could this be about? Apparently Steven Spielberg has an idea. I trust him, because he’s the man behind the original film. According to a source, “Steven and Drew are being very secretive about this baby. But they want to do this project and work together. Steven has an incredible story in mind for the sequel that will bring E.T. back to earth.”