An old-school teen romp
Trailers can be misleading. They often highlight the best parts of a film at the expense of burying the true essence of it.
Case in point: Super 8. The trailer makes it look like a Stephen King horror film. It turns out, though, that Super 8 is not a horror movie. Not even close. It's more akin to teen classics like Stand By Me, ET and The Goonies. There's a lot to get excited about with Super 8. But it is not the kind of 'Area 51 aliens' story Spielberg and co want you to believe from the promos.
A US Air Force cargo train crashes in an Ohio town, and a group of amateur filmmakers - Joe (Joel Courtney), Alice (Elle Fanning), Charles (Riley Griffiths) - witness the event. Their super 8 film camera captures top secret information. Local deputy Jack (Kyle Chandler) begins investigating, but his efforts are thwarted by the government out to conceal a shady secret.
At times Super 8 is disjointed and feels like an amalgamation of films of different genres. Events that seem significant at first turn out to be isolated incidents.
Director JJ Abrams teases us with glimpses of a spidery alien, but we don't get to see it in its full glory until the very end - and that reveal is something of a letdown.
Super 8's nostalgic summer mood sets a nice backdrop for a poignant coming-of-age story about dysfunctional single parents and teen angst. Despite the promos, that's what the film is all about, not rampaging aliens.