The first act is so polished, it glimmers - J.J. Abrams has selected a charismatic batch of youngsters and he knows how to direct them well. A shame "Super 8" loses something as it becomes a creature feature. Perhaps the difference between this film and its influences is simply that Steven Spielberg lived this story ("E.T." being based on a childhood imaginary friend) while Abrams is merely paying homage to his hero.
"The Spielbergian impersonation is uncannily complete, [down] to the overdetermined sentimentality of the last act. The mystery turns out to be exactly what you think it is — and for all intents and purposes it’s a darker-hued borrowing from Spielberg’s biggest hit , but Super 8 is definitely about the journey and not the destination." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon. Thoroughly enjoyable. It's biggest flaw was all the hype.
Whereas Star Trek featured lens flares that were motivated by its setting and art direction, in Super 8 it's not as clear why they're so prevalent. That is until you get to the end credits and see the movie within the movie. This is a film that celebrates the imperfections found even in flicks of the highest production value. I love its earnestness.
Close Encounters + E.T. + The Goonies + Explorers + Signs + War of the Worlds ÷ Son of Rambow = J.J. at his derivative best. It survives on the strength of the child actors and Larry Fong's best efforts to mimic the style of Janusz Kaminski as if on a lens flare binge. Amusing enough, but not as strong as the movies it "samples."
Felt quite generic, a little cheesy in place but it has proper suspense build-up with decent story and a few laughs and also some moving scenes. It also has the reminiscent of older films of 70s/80s (nostalgic of Spielberg's early movies). The kid characters are the usual stereotypes but they're likable. An enjoyable popcorn flick.
Four stars because this movie reminds me of the cinema I liked when I was young. So nostalgic and spielberg-flavored, it melted my heart. Well, yes, it's rethoric, the plot is nothing new, something like ad ET with vitamins. And The Goonies, Close Encounters and other stuff from the '70s/80's.
As an alien thriller, it may not satisfy, but an alien thriller is only a fraction of what it is. 2011 is clearly the year of nostalgia: just as The Artist resurrected silent form (and as The Muppets is less a "Muppet movie" than a movie about Muppet movies), so Super 8 is a loving tribute to blockbuster filmmaking—not as crass marketing juggernauts, but as geeky daydreams originating in the heart of suburbia.
Positioning this as an original film is only possible in the Summer of Sequels; it transcends homage into downright plagiarism, but if it does not always feel genuine it at least feels earnest, which isn't quite the same thing. A great cast of young actors, some decent thrills and a solid script make it the highlight of a dull summer. But Jesus, JJ, enough with the damn lens flares.