A group of high school geeks with an obsession with zombie movies witness a train wreck that contains a secret the military are desperate to cover up.
Super 8 self-consciously harks back to the classic family sci-fi movies of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and it comes as no surprise that Steven Spielberg’s name is attached to the project. He’s clearly a very hands-on producer as Super 8 reeks of his influence and has the kind of family friendly charm at which he’s always been so skilled. The story is essentially The Goonies meet E.T., if E.T. were huge and very pissed off! The cast of youngsters are very impressive indeed and far from the usual irritating brats that populate Hollywood blockbusters, with Ellie Fanning in particular putting in very watchable performance as the reluctant heroine. The special effects are unsurprisingly first rate, the train crash itself being surely the most spectacular yet filmed but it never gets bogged down with irrelevant set pieces, instead concentrating on creating likeable characters for whom you want to root.
My one complaint would be that the ending was something of an anti-climax and I would have liked to have seen the creature more fully explored and explained, but as a whole it successfully captures the feel of classic sci-fi of the type Spielberg himself was one of the greatest exponents.