Anatomy of a Trailer – Super 8

Say what you will about J.J. Abrams, but the man is a Viral Marketing Genius!  Back in 2007, he orchestrated a very effective “candy for nerds” series of trailers, videos, and websites for his “Aliens Attack NYC” film, Cloverfield.  Talk of the film spread through the country, like a virus; even though, at the time, the film wasn’t due out for another YEAR! 

The movie itself received mixed reviews.  But even its detractors would give the marketing campaign for it a solid A+.  For a trip down memory lane, check out its website, which features the corresponding trailer for the film, here

That same summer, Abrams promoted the upcoming season of his hit series Lost, by using an online “game” of sorts.  The “game” was indirectly advertised through television commercials airing throughout the summer.  It promised to give fans who played an inside scoop into the mysteries of the island.  It didn’t.  But the concept was interesting, in a sort-of geektastic way . . .

 Plus, the “game” rewarded players with a lot of tangential island-related information that they could brag about to their friends.  ABC has since disabled most of the sites related to the game, but you can get the Cliff Notes version here.

Well, it appears that Abrams and Co. are at it again.  Any of you out there who have seen Iron Man 2 in theaters, have probably already seen the trailer, which airs directly before it. The film is being directed by J.J. Abrams (duh) . . .

 . . and produced by . . . get this . . . STEVEN SPIELBERG! 

But even if you’ve seen it already, it’s worth watching again . . . . (and again, again . . .)

(Special thanks to MyIdealsPrecious, for the HD version of the trailer, and the ability to embed it in this post.)

Now, I may be going out on a limb here.  But something tells me that those “materials” they are referring to, never made it to that “secure facility” in Ohio.  Just a hunch . . . 😉

Of course, even before the trailer ran in theaters, it was leaked online.   And, inevitably, the speculation ball got rolling.  Regarding the “plot” of the film, there were three main schools of thought, which were not necessarily contradictory to one another.

1) The movie is intended to be a homage to popular Spielberg films of the ’70s, most notably, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

2) The movie is meant to be some sort of Cloverfield 2 or prequel to Cloverfield.

3) The movie involves a group of midwestern kids, growing up in the 1970’s, who are playing around with an old school Super 8 video camera, when they accidentally catch on film some disturbing alien footage.  (Hence, the film’s title, Super 8.  This would also sort of explain the old school rapid- display video camera sequences that are shown, toward the end of the trailer.)

J.J. Abrams quickly stepped in and debunked “school of thought #2,” claiming that this film was in no way related to Cloverfield(Smart man.)

A picture of what J.J. Abrams might look like in about 20 years . . .

What initially struck me about the trailer (mindblowing special effects aside) was how few “words” were in it.  Aside from some garbled “walkie talkie” talk at the 18, 27, and 37 – second marks, respectively, and the terrified “Oh my god,” at :42, the almost two-minute long trailer was essentially void of human language.  (Note, I said “human.”)

Fans have already begun to break the trailer down frame by frame.  And, for those of you who are into this sort of thing, apparently, the real “goodies” can be found during the last 20 or so seconds of the trailer.  That time frame is more or less comprised of the footage from the Super 8 camera. 

 On first view, I actually got very little from this footage.  This is most likely because the strobe light effect on that part of the trailer, made me a little nauseous.  (I was sitting in the third row of the theater, after all.)  However, apparently, there is A LOT there.  And thanks to some intrepid computer geeks, we can see it all.  Over on the message boards down at IMDB, someone was clever (and generous) enough to provide us with frame-by-frame screen shots of this portion of the film.  You can find them all here.  I was particularly creeped out by this one . . .

 . . . which appears in the trailer around 1:24, and pretty clearly shows a child’s face.  The rest of the shots were a bit less clear, to me, anyway. 

The other major little goody provided by the trailer, came at around 1:26 on the clock, when words appeared across the Super 8 screen.

(Thanks Super8News.com for posting this . . .)

Well, I still couldn’t read it, but apparently it says “scariest thing I ever saw.”  And lo and behold, there is now a website called www.scariestthingIeversaw.com.  Much like the site for the original Lost game when it first appeared on the web, this site, at first blush, features little more than an old fashioned computer screen, and a lot of techno jargon.  I played with it for a while, but didn’t get very far.  Plus, with all those “download” screens running in sequence, without prompts by me, I kept worrying that it was somehow installing a virus on my computer.  It wasn’t.  (At least, I don’t think it was.) 

Anyway, given my own ineptitude and impatience, it was nice of the folks over at Super 8 Film News, to do the heavy lifting for me, by walking me through the site and its purported “easter eggs.” 

To be honest, there’s really not much there . . . yet.  But, I am willing to bet that the site will continue to be updated, as the time clock ticks closer to the film’s release date.  Until that time, us nerds will just have to continue to speculate . . .

Super 8 invades theaters Summer 2011.  Will YOU see it?

4 Comments

Filed under Movie Trailer Recaplets, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, Super 8

4 responses to “Anatomy of a Trailer – Super 8

  1. i think this movie is going to be about aliens shooting a 70’s style porno in a Super 8 Motel.

    • LOL! That would be awesome! Ironically, a few years back, there actually WAS a movie about the porn industry, entitled 8MM (formerly also titled “Super 8”) starring Nick Cage and Joaquin Phoenix. There weren’t any aliens in it, though . . . (unless you consider Nick Cage to be an alien, as some people do).

  2. oh & i like your new header image!

    • Thanks Lola! I’ve been contemplating changing it for a while.

      It seemed a bit misleading for me to have a “Hong Kong at Night” header (I tried to pass it off as being NYC . . . it wasn’t), for a TV Recapper blog. I think my “Collage of Men” is a lot more indicative of of the type of “high quality” and “intellectual content this blog provides . . . Now people at least know what they are getting into . . . Caveat Emptor, and all that . . . 🙂

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