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.”