I don't go into many movies blind, but with Super 8 I did. I had read nothing about the film, nor had I seen the trailer. I only knew that it was directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek).
Now that I have seen it I have read up on the film. Read about Abrams's connection to Steven Spielberg in 1982, how Speilberg, having seen the teenager's student Super 8 film, hired Abrams and a friend to restore his own decaying Super 8 movies from the director's childhood days. How Spielberg encouraged Abrams to say "yes" to the Trek reboot. How Super 8 is E.T. retooled for the new millennium. And so on.
And in many ways it is something of a retelling, or homage, to E.T. And I came out of the film having enjoyed it but not knowing what I really thought about it. The first hour was enthralling. Teenagers making their own Super 8 movie find themselves involved in something strange and mysterious and terrible. SPOILER ALERT. And yes, there's an alien who only wants to get home, and while the military tries to track it down it's up to the kids to make sure the alien phones home.
It's a well-made film. The performances work all the way around, the direction is crisp and the storytelling is first rate. So why did the ending leave me a little flat? I don't know. The conclusion to E.T. was magical and light and moving. The way Super 8 ended up was just too....big. Does that make any sense? In many ways E.T. started out a small film and ended up a small film. Whereas Super 8 started out as a small film and ended up as....Cloverfiend? Independence Day? Add your own giant Hollywood blockbuster title here.
I think what bothered me is that Super 8 seemed to lose its intimacy somewhere along the way to it's massive GCI climax. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It is what it is. But despite that I did manage to enjoy myself for two hours in the darkened cinema. If this kind of movie is your thing, go see it. You'll enjoy yourself. Just make sure you stock up on the buttered and the Goobers.