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Headscratchers: Super 8
  • Woodward knew where there train would be, and when. So why didn't he drive up to the tracks 10 minutes beforehand, park the truck, and then run away? He easily could've derailed the train without risking his own life like that.
    • Maybe that's what he intended to do, but for some reason the train arrived early, and Woodward had to improvise.
    • Alternatively, maybe Woodward wanted to die as an act of penance.
      • Yeah, but if his main goal was to help the creature, then surely he'd plan to kill himself after the creature went home. Just derailing the train doesn't ensure that it'll successfully repair its ship and get away. He'd have to remain alive long enough to help with all that stuff, too.
      • Well maybe he was depressed and he wasn't thinking straight.
      • Maybe he was just sick of being old and wanted to kill himself!
    • Obviously everyone riding the train died horribly. But there must have been some other group of soldiers traveling parallel to the train in some other mode of transportation, perhaps as scouts. They were the ones who responded to the train crash within minutes of it happening. I guess if there had been a truck just parked there the second group of soldiers would have detected it somehow.
      • I just assumed the soldiers were from that Air Force base where everybody gets evacuated to later in the movie. They were in radio contact with the train engineers, and when they lost contact they sent out a platoon.
    • Since it hasn't been said yet, if he just left the truck on the tracks, the train would have stopped. In order to derail it, he had to get in its path so it couldn't avoid him.
      • But even considering that, Woodward didn't even attempt to bail out. I mean sure, maybe he wants to get the truck on the tracks at the last second so the train won't slow down. (And btw I don't think trains can slow down all that quickly anyway). But once he's on the tracks, does he really need to stay in truck (and drive straight into the train)? He should try to jump out.
      • Unless his truck has absolutely perfect handling (which from the look of it I seriously doubt), bailing at any point prior to hitting the train has a decent chance of his truck veering right off the tracks. As for the train stopping, no, they cannot stop that fast, but they can stop enough that his beat up old truck, which is completely motionless, would be insufficient to completely derail it.
    • The scene was done entirely because it was "mint". It was added for the same reason the Detective had a wife. It adds drama.
    • Forget all that: how is it that Woodward managed to set up his new undercover life in exactly the town the train would pass through? How did he even know there would be a train?
      • One, the train station probably services several towns, and it was a coincidence. Two, he presumably still has some kind of military connections.
    • Speaking of that truck, how did it even manage to derail the train? It weighes FAR less then the train, which is moving much faster. The train should have just blasted through the truck without even slowing down, given the speed and weight differences.
      • Rule of Cool+Rule of Drama. Also, it doesn't take much to derail a train. A penny in the tracks won't derail, but a one-inch gap in the rail might. Admittedly, they're not nearly as spectacular as in the film.
    • Forget leaving the Truck there how did the truck survive being hit at full speed by a train!
      • If the truck didn't hit the train exactly head on then it would have been knocked to the side. You can see that half of the front of the truck is missing, which probably shows that half of the truck hit the train first and got ripped/sheered off, which saved the rest of the truck from harm.
  • So what, exactly, happened to the humans we saw hanging upside down in the creature's liar? We saw it eating a person, sure, implying that they were there as food. However, the cop was still alive, and he was the first one to be taken. You'd think he'd be first on the menu. It's possible the leftover leg belonged to one of the soldiers from the bus. If the creature was indeed using everyone as food, then why were there so many people still in the liar when it was so close when the creature was going to escape? We didn't see the creature take anything with it when it climbed into the cockpit of its reassembled ship. So is that sheriff still alive somewhere, despite his recapture?
    • Was it made clear that the creature actually ate anyone?
      • It ate Nelec. But maybe that was self-defense rather than hunger. I mean, the guy had tortured him for years. And he was shooting at him with an assault rifle. So I'm not sure the creature eats people for food.
      • We didn't see it chomping on anyone, no, but we did see it drop a (detached) leg, and many of the people we saw strung up were missing arms. If it wasn't eating them, then it was just tearing the limbs off for fun.
    • If it does eat people, maybe it's M.O. is to capture people and string them up until its hungry. And it's not really picky about eating people in the exact order of their capture.
    • I would assume the sheriff is alive somewhere at the end.
    • Maybe they're not just there as food. Maybe they're there because they witnessed the creature, and the creature didn't want them telling anybody else where it was.
      • That's not the case. It actively attacked every one of its victims. I can only assume the filmmakers want us to believe that the people were there as snacks. That's why we saw them strung up and saw the creature munching on a human leg at the same time.
    • What I want to know is if the people still trapped survived through the ship taking off right above them?
      • If the people standing around it weren't hurt, the ones protected by a large layer of dirt should be fine, too.
  • This Troper finds the climax almost pointless as it does not actually have that much in stake. If Joe didn't went down to the creature lair, possibly around five people would have died, and the creature would have left anyway. Joe did not actually affect the creature's plans at all, which undermines the entire climax. All they do is they stare into each other eyes in order to have some kind of deeper meaning, but it didn't really for me. I like that hugging moment with the the two kids, that was nice emotionally but I find the last chase scene almost completely pointless.
    • Well besides Alice being eaten and all there was no stake. The alien was always the subplot to the relationship between the kids, and Joe convnced the alien to leave without causing any more harm.
      • Joe didn't affect the creature's plans because, well, that was never his intention. I don't think how the movie would have benefited if the kids had killed the creature or something, especially since a point was made that it just wanted to be somewhere else.
  • When exactly did the creature dig the underground lair for itself? Was this a pre-existing lair, and if so why didn't the Air Force know about it and post a few guards? Did it dig a new lair after it escaped? If so then why aren't there fresh mounds of excess dirt on the surface? (Because obviously he had to displace the preexisting dirt to dig the tunnels). And why is there a shed built immediately around the entrance to the lair? Who built the shed and locked the doors? Did the military build it? And if so, again, why don't they have some guards around and/or why haven't they invaded the lair already? Did some other guy build it? If so, who?
    • Maybe it was a preexisting shed, and the creature thought "This is a great place to tunnel down, because then no one will see the entrance." So it snuck in through the door and started digging.
      • And then the creature closed the door behind it? And locked the doors?
      • Hey, it's an advanced alien. Maybe it understands how a lock works. And maybe those hands are more dextrous than they appear.
      • Actually there is a fun little throw away line when Deputy Lamb is leaving the town meeting and people are hassling him with random problems, one guy complains of a sinkhole that has opened in his garage. Stand alone garages are popular in that era/region.
    • With regards to displaced dirt, maybe it was simply impacted into the walls, making the dirt more dense. Or heck, maybe the creature eats dirt, though not necessarily exclusively.
    • During the scene where Joe is in the cemetery, he hears weird noises coming from the shed and sees dirt getting splattered up against the windows (Carey notices this later when they revisit the place). I'm guessing what Joe was seeing was the alien digging the hole under the shed. He probably got into the shed via another underground hole he dug from somewhere else, with the shed hole being just another entrance to his tunnel complex. That would also explain the locked doors- maybe he got into the shed from underground, unlocked the doors (he seems smart enough to do that) and re-locked them whenever he went back into the shed.
      • Alternatively, maybe it dug the hole under the shed but never actually used it, because it was intended as a backup. This whole time he's been using other tunnels to get in and out. Thus, he never had to mess with the locks in the first place.
  • What happens after the ending? Does the military just go away? 'Cause it seems more likely that they'd arrest everyone involved in the incident, interrogate them for days on end, and otherwise cause just screw with everybody's lives. Heck, they might deem the whole area "contaminated" and permanently relocate the town. I mean there was a giant space creature running around, who knows if had some alien bacteria and we're all infected now? We'd better round up everyone in town and do some tests, etc. etc.
    • Nelec is dead, so maybe his replacement is nicer. Also note that the tanks and such misfired everywhere, so the military may be inclined to pay hush money and quietly apologize about everything.
      • How are they going to explain everything to the national media? Somebody must have heard of all the weird stuff going on (like missing car engines), and I bet plenty of astronomers (both amateur and professional) noticed the ship take off.
      • In that case, maybe they figure that the secret's out already, so they just get the President to go on TV and explain the whole thing.
      • Gentlemen, the answers you're looking for lie right here...
    • Maybe this is a universe like the one in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The ending is mankind's introduction at large to the existence of aliens.
      • I also got the impression that Nelec either never informed the president of the alien or was just tired of Nathan's dad's questioning, hence the military arrest.
    • Joe's Dad could still going to be in a heap of trouble for punching out the guard, blowing up a tanker truck, stealing a Jeep and impersonating a soldier, but it will probably fall under All Is Well That Ends Well.
      • To be fair to Joe's Dad it was an illegal arrest anyway, and if the military really wanted to try and push charges they would open themselves up to legal action for all the laws they broke and would have to admit they held an alien life form prisoner and tortured it to the point where it considered all humans it's enemies, making them resposible for the deaths of all those civillians. In the long run it's easier just to try and sweep the whole thing under the rug than to try and get payback.
    • The kids' zombie movie was finished, edited, and apparently sent to the film festival, so yes, the military went away and life in that town continued normally.
  • Charles' film is the anti-Super 8. The police Detective takes the lead in resolving everything, unlike the father in the film, who basically gets jerked around the whole time and has almost no significance to solving the plot. The military officer helps the Detective as opposed to detaining him like the Air Force does, and finally the monsters are evil and have to be killed off instead of just trying to escape and successfully doing so. Everything in the student film is basically 180 degrees different from Super 8 itself. Which also shows that in the end, no one learned anything from all this. Basically a Fridge Downer Ending.
    • While that is an interesting parallel, I think you're overthinking this. A So Bad, It's Good amateur film is by no means a solid indicator that the cast had learned from the events of the movie. Besides, the script and several of those scenes were written and filmed before the alien's true nature is revealed. So if Charles decided to scrap everything and do something that proved they had learned something, he would basically have to start from scratch, getting rid of perfectly usable footage and risk missing the contest deadline. (Not to mention put up with Martin's whining.)
    • Also, the Doctor was killed by the monster. The real doctor was killed by humanity.
      • To be fair, this was done in the military compound by Nemec's lieutenant with no witnesses. The children aren't aware of it, and probably continued to believe he died at the scene of the derailing.
  • Why did the alien attack the bus? Was it out of revenge for what the soldiers did to him or merely because he saw a sign of life and wanted to snuff it out so it wouldn't cause problems while he tried to rebuild his ship? I'm sure there's a reason, but I'm unclear on which one.
    • It is unclear, but if i had to say, it was probably after the colonel. It does have some degree of psychic ability, so it probably sensed him, and i guess its possible it saw or heard him too. I know i'd be out for blood if someone tortured me for two decades. Also, At that point, he probably knew the military was bearing down on him, and i wouldn't be surprised if he was hitting everything he could to delay their advancement. So, again, unclear, but it was probably a bit of revenge and practicality.
  • For that matter, why did the alien attack humans at all? It's supposed to be super-intelligent. It's supposed to be trying to hide, and trying to escape. And surely there were other sources of food available (livestock, stored food in grocery freezers, etc.) Even if it hated humanity's stinking wet guts, it would have to be aware that randomly attacking, abducting, and EATING people would bring the heat down harder and faster than anything else. Alien rule of thumb #1: pick a food supply that doesn't have opposable thumbs and GUNS.
    • There's no real reason for him to attack Alice in the middle of town. Same thing for the bus. The town had been evacuated by then, so it was a military target.
    • He wanted Nelec dead. That was about it.
      • Plus in all those cases the alien was already in the area looking for things (car engines, powercables, etc.) and came across those people, so it decided to grab them as a snack at the same time. The town wasn't evacuated when the alien grabed Alice (that happened the next day), and it attacked the bus with a lot more viciousness than we see in it's other appearances which could be an indication that it knew Nelec was on the bus and was too enraged to pass up the chance to get revenge.
    • All the pets ran away, which probably means that also the rest of the local fauna did the same. The creature had to eat something, and all that was left was puny humans, which he hated.
    • No, just the dogs left. We see that there are still horses during the evacuation.
  • The idea of Colonel Nelec's troops overlooking something as obvious as Woodward's "dungeon" in their investigation is a glaring Plot Hole. Even the regular military are smarter than this, let alone the military in charge of a top-secret Area 51 ersatz. Sounds like Plot-Induced Stupidity at the peak of absurdity.
    • They obviously caught on eventually. Why else would they have come when the kids did? As for stupidity, there's no indication the military went around questioning Woodward's friends about his every habit, and the dungeon might have been some old junk trailer the school kept lying around. If there was no distinct way to link it to him other than word of mouth, they could have overlooked it.
  • Why give the alien human-like eyes? He was already humanized, and sympathetic enough, and the extra step seems pointless. It's almost like they assumed that nobody would sympathize with it if it had no human traits at all.
  • Why do people sympathize with the alien? We see him kill innocents (curler lady, sheriff) and munch on somebody's leg.
    • In defense of the critter, while munching on intelligent creatures while they are dead is a questionable act, the movie has 2 to 3 instances of communication between the humans and the alien on screen. The MO seems to be pick up, hold for a while in hand, then stare for a while. If itís some sort of telepathy or literal Translator Microbes it takes a non-trivial amount of effort. It didnít seem to speak or be spoken to everybody it touched.
  • Why did Romero Chemical try to blow up the detective's wife? Wouldn't that just piss the detective off?
    • It was an accident. The detective even said it himself. No one was trying to kill her.
  • What on Earth was the Army's plan for the battle at the end of the film? Since there was just the one monster, all of their fire should be directed more-or-less towards a single point, or at least in the same general direction. Instead, they're running around shooting in random directions for no discernable reason.
    • All their weapons were misfiring. Also, radio communications were most likely down because of the alien. Not to mention that with both Nelec and Overmeyer dead, the chain of command was probably starting to unravel.
      • Well, radio was probably working, since we see a guy saying that their missles aren't functioning properly into one—and magnetic fields disrupting missle guidance is something that actually happens. But if they meant that all weapons are malfunctioning, that raises more questions than it answers! Some of the guns we see running away (misfiring means a weapon won't fire—a runaway gun won't stop firing) are purely mechanical. It's not clear how the crew-served weapons mounted on jeeps are going to run away, as opposed to the electrically-fired weapons on tanks, and the gunner is trained on how to stop a runaway gun (it can happen due to mechanical wear). In extremis, you can deny the weapon ammunition. Speaking of which, the main guns on US tanks are single shot and loaded by hand, so if the tanks were misfiring repeatedly, that means that there was a guy feeding ammunition into the gun who didn't stop when they lost control. As far as Col. Nelec getting killed affecting the battle, he's an Air Force officer, and the Air Force doesn't have tanks. There would have been Army or Marine Corps (probably Army) officers in charge of the ground battle. It's unlikely that Nelec could have done much more than pick a tank out of a lineup, so his death wouldn't have really caused things to unravel. Even if he really was that important, part of the plan is who takes over if the leadership gets killed.
      • Giant monster running around, commanders dead, equipment breaking down...I can see some of the less-than-steel-nerved soldiers just panicing and firing at anything that moves.
    • I agree with OP. If they knew their weapons were misfiring/targeting systems down/whatever, why did they keep shooting? "Looks like I missed for some reason, let's try again derp derp"?
      • They freaked out?
      • Worse, they may not have been able to control their weapons. They are, after all, in the general vicinity of a highly dangerous Technopath. Further evidence for the 'Copper is a complete and utter dick' school of thought.
  • The alien has an empathic link with everyone he touches. Don't you think that would make eating people awkward/weird/undesirable?
    • Seems likely that all the alien felt from the humans he ate, was fear and pain. Seemed like the understanding only came about after a somewhat prolonged contact with the kid, and the kid actually making the effort to communicate.
    • It probably doesn't work on people who are knocked out. Which all of the victims were.
    • No, because Alice was knocked out but also recalled the telepathic messages. It's possible, however, the alien didn't know it could do this. All it knew was that when it touched someone the person would become more compliant, so maybe it simply thought it was blanking their brains and putting them under its control.
    • In defense of the critter (whose movie name is hilariously narmish) while munching on intelligent creatures while they are dead is a questionable act, the movie has 2 to 3 instances of communication between the humans and the alien on screen. The MO seems to be pick up, hold for a while in hand, then stare for a while. If itís some sort of telepathy or literal Translator Microbes it takes a non-trivial amount of effort. It didnít seem to speak or be spoken to everybody it touched.
  • Was Joe's mom supposed to be Asian I hate to sound racist but I really couldn't tell, in a few blink and you miss it shots you can see her briefly wearing what kimono. I'm only asking because i'm pretty sure in the sixties when his dad would have married her that was heavily looked down on.
    • Well, the actress is Irish. I don't recall that kimono but, a robe probably?
    • There is a perfectly logical explanation to this Joe's dad was in the military and served at some point in Japan, and brought back a kimono.
      • I look at the trailer here and she doesn't look Japanese.
  • Why is a suburban mom in the late 70' working in a steel mill?
    • Well...hmm...I was going to say that back during WWII, they let women work in the mills when the men were at war, but this is late 1970s, so yeah...
    • Family tradition, maybe? Her dad could've worked there and had no sons to follow in his footsteps.
  • What the hell is with the ending? It's not heartwarming, it's not touching, it's just... wierd.
    • It's s'posed to be about forgetting grudges and moving forward, even if it means somebody who did something awful goes unpunished.
    • ... and, you know, a whole neighborhood is destroyed.
      • Yeah...I can see your point. Not many of them are going to be too willing to forgive the military for leveling their town and incarcerating the entire population for seemingly no reason at all.
  • Why was the military moving the alien in the first place?
    • Lot's of possible reasons; the old storage facility needed repairs, they were moving it to a newer and better one, an inspection was coming up and they didn't want more people to know about the alien than was nessicary, fears about espinoage led them to moving to a more secure facility, etc. etc. etc.
    • At around that time, lots of materials (and possibly other stuff) was being transferred from Nellis (aka Area 51), where the alien was outright stated as having been held iirc, to Wright-Patterson.
  • So the dogs all ran away because they somehow sensed the monster's presence. Okay. What about all the other animals, then? The cats, the squirrels, the birds, the horses in particular because we see them still standing around grazing while the town is being evacuated... If there's something that signals danger do the dogs, shouldn't the other animals also be receiving that same signal and freaking out?
    • If all animals could sense it, then humans would be able to. It's a dog thing, not a non-human animal thing.
  • How did Donny (The stoner guy) survive the bombing? Rule of Funny?
    • Or he was somewhere that the bombs didn't drop.
  • The protagonists (both the children and the father) did nothing of note to resolve the conflict. Seriously. They all just sort of jerk around for a while while the alien gets ready to leave. And then it leaves. The end. A case could be made for the necklace being the last bit of metal needed for the alien to get away, but that's a flimsy justification. I suppose one could say that it's similar to Cloverfield in that it's just people reacting to a crisis, but the resolution of the film comes from the alien taking off, so if that's the direction the film was taking, it's indecisive at best.
    • Did you miss the conversation between the alien and Joe at the end? It leaves after talking to him, so clearly it was still pissed off at the humans trying to kill it that it was sticking around to deal with them. He showed it that humans were Not So Different from it, and that it should let go of the past and move on with it's life. At which point it abandons what it's working on and leaves. Since it can leave straight away, one can assume that it was making some non-nessicary addittions to it's ship (probably space-lasers to deal with the military).
      • I actually second this issue, but add in that the conversation between the boy and the alien felt.... Completely pointless. "I know bad things happen, but you can still live" certainly ties in to *some* elements of the plot, but really doesn't have much to do with the alien itself. Yeah, its life has been pretty shitty up to this point, but it had every intention of living. It was ready to leave at this very moment, and seemed to be hanging back for no other reason than to kill a few more people. Perhaps something was lost in the wording, but the whole scene really could've used a lot more fleshing out. There was nothing leading up to or out of it. It just doesn't feel like either of them *learned* anything from one another.
      • It connected with the alien because it let it's pain drive it instead of trying to move forward; he spent more time trying to get revenge and eat those squishy humans that actually trying to go home. Joe essentially asked it to forgive humanity for the mistakes that a few of them made, but to understand that the whole shouldn't be punished for it. Hopefully, it was enough to not have the alien go home and ready it's people to invade or destroy humanity, as well.

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