This films is very entertaining, it has a good flow of story and a masterful mix of action/adventure/heartache/humor. It’s centered around a group of kids, junior high age or so, that are making a movie together over the summer with a super 8 film camera, (hence the name). The film that the kids make plays in full during the credits, and it’s adorable; awkward, unintentionally funny, it reminds me so much of the amateur movies that I myself have made. Director J.J. Abrams and Producer Steven Spielberg have said it reminds them of their childhoods, too, and it was intentionally modeled after a couple of Spielberg’s earlier projects, E.T. and The Goonies. So if you’re familiar with either of those then you have a good idea about the overall tone of Super 8.
Unfortunately, even though it is styled around, starring and advertised towards a younger crowd, the language included will mean some kids who might otherwise enjoy the story won’t get to see it. “sh-t” and “holy sh-t” pepper all the action, explosion, running, and monster-smashing scenes, mostly shouted by the kids. There is also one eff bomb, (which I think is all that’s allowed for a PG-13 rating). It’s true that a lot of kids do talk that way. It’s true that using taboo language when speaking with friends is a way to increase the intimacy of the group, because it signals that you’re being less formal, or that parents aren’t around, or that you’re so close you can say anything and they’ll still like you. But it’s too bad they couldn’t have used a substitute, (like Tommy Boy’s “holy schnikes!”).
I would say the main theme of Super 8 is probably empathy, and forgiveness. Love your neighbor as yourself. Even if you ‘neighbor’ is a monster. Or if your neighbor’s mistake caused a death in your family. Or if your neighbor likes the girl you like, or wants to blow up your carefully crafted model trains. (The child director of the movie-within-a-movie really demonstrates how not to be a good friend.) There are some really well-crafted and realistic relationship dynamics on display in this film. The monster is a little silly, the ending is a little cliche, but it’s a very good story well worth seeing. If the sh-ts don’t keep you away.