Now, I like me a good monster movie, and this one sounded promising, and for good reason. It really is a good film. It manages to be moving and exciting and funny all at the same time. I thought it was a tad overly sentimental near the end, but I'll let it go. It also boasts a great cast, including Kyle Chandler and that dude from The Truman Show (he's one of those nameless actors whose face is familiar but whose name is a blank). The kids are great, too, which they should be since they're the main actors. I'd heard good things about them, especially Elle Fanning (who I haven't seen in anything else). Some say she is more talented than Dakota Fanning. I don't know what to say to that since I haven't seen her movies, either.
Joel Courtney, who plays the hero child, Joe, does a great job of leading the cast of youngins. I mean, it can't be easy to star in a big JJ Abrams/Steven Spielberg movie, now can it? If you suck, then the movie becomes suckier than it would have been had you not been in it. So it's a good thing he's a good actor, as well as the rest of them. For me, there is always the worry that I'm going to be annoyed by kids in movies (Harriet the Spy, I'm looking at you). As it happens, the actors and their characters work well together.
Super 8 isn't the most original monster movie. It reminded me a little (or a lottle in a particular scene) of The Host (a South Korean monster movie that I love). There's also a slight E.T vibe going on. But I think that most monster movies have similarities to each other. The point is to make it fun and thrilling. That's what it's supposed to be!
That's what makes it a great summer movie.
My grade: B+