I don't spend a lot of time on the viral games that many studios have started building around the countdown to release on some of their biggest films.
I don't have anything against the idea… it's just that I don't have the time to wait on pins and needles to play my part in these things. I watched the fervor that fans brought to the "Dark Knight" ARG, for example, and I was impressed. I just know that I'd rather wait and see the end result than spend my time and energy on each step along the way.
Having said that, few people play the game as well as JJ Abrams these days, and he and Paramount have been having fun playing with expectations and secrecy on his new film "Super 8." In particular, they've been running a game involving the "Super 8 Editing Room," where they've been sending out physical reels of Super 8 film to various sites, and each site has to input a code to unlock that clip for everyone else online.
In other words, this is a case where if I don't play along with the piece of the game I've been sent, no one else can, either.
The box I was sent contained a single small reel of film, held in place with a clip that featured the title "Super 8." Here's a picture:
When I took the clip off of of the film, I realized it was actually a USB card:
And when I played that USB card on my laptop, I saw the film clip that is contained on the film reel. I checked the actual reel, and was able to recognize the particular imagery from my clip, which seems to be about some sort of alien materials recovered by our government, and the experiments with the material to see what its properties are.
I'm not sure how quickly they'll add my clip to the site, but it looks like the backstory that the eventual finished piece will reveal has to do with the lab that originally dealt with the discoveries that are being shipped in the train that goes off the rails in the inciting incident of the film by Abrams, which we'll see very soon.
They're actually still working on the film, tweaking it, shooting a few pick-ups here and there, and everything I've heard from everyone close to it suggests a real confidence about the end result. It looks like Abrams has made a sweet, nostalgic science-fiction thriller, and that's all I demand of the movie. Abrams loves to engage his audience early, and he loves to parcel out information a little at a time to keep people on the leash. In this case, I'm happy to play my part.
"Super 8" will be in theaters June 10, 2011.