Super 8 was some of the most planned, manipulative uses of nostalgia I've seen in a long time and I loved it. My usual routine to after seeing a movie in Tokyo is to buy a movie program. No, when I say movie program, I don't mean Final Cut Pro or iMovie.
Doesn't anyone remember movie programs?! Super 8 had tons of flaws but it worked as a piece of narrative nostalgia. Just had to get a program. Why didn't the folks in marketing drop the other shoe and release movie programs to accompany the film? (If I'm wrong, please correct me)
Anyone who connected with the nostalgia in this movie, anyone who saw at least ONE 80's Spielberg or Star Wars film in a theater in their lifetime certainly remembers the the pleasure of having "piece of the movie" to take home as a memento or at least certainly a conversation piece.
Folks like to throw that term "viral marketing" around. Which basically is virtual technobabble to say "word of mouth". What better viral marketing than your movie program floating around, sitting on the coffee table when friends come over?
Rather than shelling out an extra 5 bucks on a pair of 3D glasses I'm going to bitch about anyway, I'd much rather spend that on a memento of a great movie experience I'll have forever. The joy of having a movie programs was like a symbol of you were in for a treat or at least you came home with with something because you attended something special.
Any Gen X'er remembers in elementary school the envy of someone having an"Empire Strikes Back" movie program and you just couldn't wait to get to the theaters (not just to see the movie) but to get your hands on one of those programs.
Movie programs are always available with the films in Japan. Any they are just as good (if not better) than the ones that were produced in the USA. The movie programs just don't give the usual publicity shots and storyline overviews, but they also have extensive material showing the pride in the craftsmanship in the making of the film. NOTE keywords: Pride, craftsmanship. If the producers felt they did a good job they should be proud to show people in print what they have labored on.
Given, much of what is covered in movie programs can be seen in the supplementary chapters on the DVD release----but who wants to wait for that?!
Go home with a movie program, in a way the studio is communicating:
"Yeah, you damn, right this is something special you're looking at here. So special we're publishing it so you can hold it in your hands, read it and take it home with you...show your friends."
I can only post a few pages of the Super 8 movie program because the booklet just has too many pages. Definitely you get your money's worth. (26 pages in total)
So what's the deal? Americans don't read anymore? Super 8 was a nice trip back to the feeling of when the experience of movies were... yes dammit, magical experiences. Going home with a movie program certainly added to the experience.