Loving, playful, and spectacularly well made, Super 8 is easily the best summer movie of the year -- of many years. And I make that declaration with full knowledge that the season has just begun.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Attempts the difficult feat of balancing self-consciousness about the olden days with wide-eyed, headlong, present-tense fun. For about an hour it succeeds marvelously. The modest letdown that follows exposes the limitations of Mr. Abrams's imagination.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
This sci-fi thriller has an engrossing plot and a strong cast of fully drawn characters. There's even a sweet youthful love story. In other words, it's a summer blockbuster firing on all cylinders.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
All too often the plot feels calculated rather than organic, the result of a time-tested formula rather than genuine innovation.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
"Super 8'' is a curious thing indeed: A good movie that makes you want to go home and re-watch a great one.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Named for an obsolete cinema technology, Super 8 is involving enough to create its own reality.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
"Super 8" knows what it wants to be, but like the earnest super-8 amateur flick its young heroes labor over, the movie skips some steps to achieve an effect. The result is an almost-great valentine to Gen-X genre milestones.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
This new film isn't perfect, and may not be a world-changer, but it's certainly a world-pleaser.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
For pretty much the first half of the new movie from writer-director J.J. Abrams, Super 8 isn't really even an alien thriller; it's a sad-sweet tale of loss and coming-of-age set in the golden-gone days of the late '70s.
Tom Maurstad - Dallas Morning News
There's much to like in this story of a group of young movie-makers who stumble upon an event right out of, well, the movies.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
The reasons you'll remember the movie will be all about quieter, moving intimacy created by its characters.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Spielberg and Abrams are the unwitting targets of their own irony.
David Denby - New Yorker
Super 8 is a wonderful film, nostalgia not for a time but for a style of filmmaking, when shell-shocked young audiences were told a story and not pounded over the head with aggressive action.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Abrams brings so much affection to the project the results reveal both the film geek he surely was as a Spielberg-lovin' kid, and the hard-charging populist he has become.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Writer-director J.J. Abrams overloads this sci-fi adventure with so many homages to his co-producer Steven Spielberg that it plays like the elder director's greatest hits, minus his characteristic scares and sense of wonder.
Andrea Gronvall - Chicago Reader
The worst that can be said about the film is that the characters are far more compelling than the mystery they solve.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Abrams ... delivers a phenomenal pop-art experience, dazzling the senses while aiming straight for the heart.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Remember the good old days? This is the movie you went to see on a Saturday afternoon in the good old days.
Tom Long - Detroit News
It's not a perfect film - the ending couldn't possibly live up to the build-up, for instance - but it is just a tremendous amount of fun.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Sorry to dash your hopes, but it's just more of the same junk. Junk for children, with an estimated $45-million budget. There oughta be a law.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Sadly, the helmer seems too smitten working with Steven Spielberg to recognize that his idol-turned-champion created the very paradigm that limits his passion project, forcing this modest nostalgia trip to function as a blockbuster.
Peter Debruge - Variety
Put "The Goonies," "E.T.," "Close Encounters" and "War of the Worlds" in that blender from "Gremlins" -- and transport the mixture back to 1979 in the "Back to the Future" DeLorean -- and you get J.J. Abrams' "Super 8."
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Abrams fashions Super 8 in such a calculating manner, with every element weighed both for maximum nostalgia value and ironic hipster cred, that it has an artificial feel to it. It's like a birthday cake made of spun glass.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
There is a lot to like about Super 8, but little that's new.
William Goss - Film.com
If you're wondering what's missing from so many big-budget, effects-driven Hollywood movies, the answer lies in J.J. Abrams' Super 8: heart and passion. What's happening onscreen really matters to...
Leonard Maltin - indieWIRE
"Super 8" displays the transition from Spielberg the man to Spielberg the noun. (As in: Abrams has pulled a Spielberg.) But it's far from perfect.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
It's the child actors, heroic indeed, who rescue Super 8 from the blockbuster grip of its adult makers.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
"Super 8" is more like a mannered impression of a great '70s summer movie than the real thing, but that makes it just about perfect for our age of simulated sincerity.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
This may not be a children's classic that will last for generations, but it will make for a rollicking afternoon at the multiplex for kids around Joe's age.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Abrams remembers the simple rule that a majority of his contemporaries have forgotten: action and mayhem have meaning only when an audience cares about the people trapped within the maelstrom.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
An engaging return trip to Steven Spielberg's youthful world of wonder courtesy of J.J. Abrams.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
All you're left with is ... story. And strong performances. And well-developed characters. And a believable emotional arc. And genuine thrills.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
The year's most thrilling, feeling mainstream movie.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
A retro monster mash with a child's heart, a prodigy's unstoppable imagination and FX dazzle to spare.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Has moments of greatness, but the ending is a slight disappointment.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
This melding of two cinematic sensibilities, though effective at moments, is finally not as exciting or involving as it we'd like it to be.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
An idealistic and powerful summer film with great characters and a wonderful script.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
While it may not achieve the level of pop culture canonization as the Spielberg films it invokes, Super 8 should inspire many to use their camera-phones for something more creative than a profile pic.
Violet Lucca - Film Comment Magazine
It wants to be Spielberg, needs to be Spielberg, begs to be Spielberg. But this ain't Spielberg.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
Great action sequences and a touching story make Super 8 a great summer blockbuster.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
This Spielbergian misstep by J. J. Abrams attempts to be the emotional coming-of-age equivalent of Stand by Me but instead winds up as a cacophonous mishmash of Goonies and War of the Worlds.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
The movie of the summer, the movie of many summers, going back to the '70s...
Super 8 is undoubtedly one of the more robust summer blockbusters of the year, with enough momentum to get it over the finish line before you start asking more questions of it.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
While it didn't turn out to be the great movie some thought it would be, "Super 8" still makes for an entertaining film
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
- Sight and Sound
JJ Abrams' "thank you" to Steven Spielberg. It's like he said, "Thank you for making those movies while I was growing up. Now, here's what you inspired me to make". And it's a terrific ride that I can't wait to experience again.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Verdadero homenaje al cine de Spielberg, Super 8 empieza siendo E.T. (o al menos una digna heredera) y termina como La guerra de los mundos, donde lo espectacular y la resolucion facil toman la delantera. Aun asi, un buen entretenimiento.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
J.J. Abrams demonstrates a real love for cinema - primarily Steven Spielberg's classic sci-fi pics - with this doting homage, which puts a frantic alien invasion plot secondary to an involving, emotionally resonant family narrative.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Super 8 works best when it isn't attempting to imitate '80s Spielberg.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
While it's often tense and exciting, it's also more than a little exaggerated and corny at the end. You take what you get.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
The potty-mouthed script deserves a parental warning and casts the only regretful shadow on an otherwise sterling popcorn adventure...
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Super 8 is accomplished commercial filmmaking.
JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg team up for this enjoyable alien thriller, which feels exactly how we nostalgically remember Spielberg's late-70s movies. But it's not nearly as earthy or thrilling as they actually were.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
For big kids, a chance to relive the classic films that forged their love of sci-fi. For the kids of today, it's a film they'll want to show their kids another 30 years down the line.
Richard Edwards - SFX Magazine
Much richer, much deeper and much more moving than its 'monster movie' premise might suggest.
Neil Pond - American Profile
The most authentic Spielberg film Spielberg never directed.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Vale mais pelo sentimento de nostalgia que inspira do que pela qualidade de sua narrativa.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
The young cast are all outstanding, ably supported by the adults in the background, and the nostalgia of the piece is genuinely intoxicating.
Chris Fyvie - The Skinny
An original, entertaining, solidly built movie with no star faces and plenty of heart...
Steve Rose - Uncut Magazine [UK]
A Spielberg pastiche of uncanny precision and sublime pointlessness.
Henry K. Miller - Sight and Sound
Monsters, aliens, trains and a small town that doesn't want to know the truth. What more could one ask for from a summer movie?
A well-crafted homage to a master filmmaker who, ironically, was accused early in his career of infantilizing cinema but created some of the most memorable elegies to childhood and lost innocence.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Nothing in the latter part of Super 8 matches the first 40 minutes, but the suspense is well sustained and the performances are attractive.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Super 8 had to have heart of its own to work and it does. It provides its own thrills. That marks the difference between complimenting a set of films and copying them.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
Jennie Kermode - Eye for Film
If Abrams can't sustain the magic, at least he's created some in the first place. And with its nostalgic period setting, stunning special effects and charming performances from the young leads, Super 8 is the best movie Spielberg never made.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
The young characters are played by, among others, Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney. They interact well, albeit in that rose-tinted view of childhood so favoured by Spielberg, who is on production duties here.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Super 8 is a delightful nostalgia trip, recalling a bygone era when young protagonists embarked on amazing journeys and emerged from the melee with barely a scratch or bruise.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
Super 8 is the most intensely Spielbergian film you'll ever see that Steven Spielberg didn't actually direct himself. And it's early Spielberg!
David Sexton - This is London
What keeps us enthralled is its nostalgic sensibility, partly for the time but mostly for its old-school film-making values.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Now we have more than a Spielberg movie in disguise. We also have the latest blockbuster from JJ Abrams all fired up, too.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
For those who grew up on the Spielberg classics, a truly nostalgic treat awaits.
Trevor Johnston - Radio Times
The young cast are excellent.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Super 8 is not just the most entertaining family film of the summer, it's up there with the classics of its various genres.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Super 8 is the sweetest film of 2011, an affectionate shout-out to amateurs everywhere.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
It is thrilling, fatuous, pyrotechnical, whimsical, barnstorming, batty, out there, out to lunch and finally, though it flails exuberantly to the last frame, out of ideas.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Wears off like a warm childhood memory.
Matt Glasby - Little White Lies
The geekery has charm, but is a little self-conscious and just occasionally, this movie resembles an open-ended, rambling drama serial that gets a little, well, lost.
Now if only the Abrams and Spielberg combo would take on some of the Marvel films...
Francesca Steele - Sky Movies
A diverting but rather pointless affair, undermined by its obsessive and clinical commitment to recreating past glories.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
Super 8 is a hugely entertaining sci-fi thriller, thanks to a strong script, impressive special effects, pacey direction and terrific performances from its likeable young cast.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
An engaging cross between coming-of-age exploration films like The Goonies, with tender, heartfelt moments of Stand by Me, and Abrams's supernatural, alien fascination.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
A giddily nostalgic film that recaptures the sense of awe and wonder from early Spielberg classics such as Close Encounters and ET.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
It's nowhere close to E. T. - what is? - but amongst the hullabaloo of summer, Super 8 is something to cherish: a beautifully made homage to better times, and better movies.
- Empire Magazine
...J.J. Abrams here strains so hard to hit all the right buttons that he misses almost all of them.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
While it's not perfect, it's honestly one of the most interesting films that's been out all year and certainly this summer.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Kofi Outlaw - ScreenRant
- National Post
Abrams panders to his audience and wrongly assuming that more explosions, more pathos, and more cliches will provide a path to more approval.
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
A case of ultimately dashed high hopes, no matter how much it has going for it along the way.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
The alien invader storyline often feels as though its happening in a completely different universe than the small-town story of friendship and first love
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
You can't write an original screenplay while stealing from better directors.
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
Roger Tennis - Cinemaclips.com
This is old-school storytelling. And it just plain feels good to experience it.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
Simple, sweet and far more understated than you've been led to believe. And it's got lens flares coming out of its ears, natch.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
Super 8 embodies everything unsettling and disappointing about the culmination of [Lost].
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
Flying automobiles, dastardly military officers, Alice's shriek when she sees what it is the entire town is up against, they are all nothing to the tense moments as father and son stare one another down with their future relationship on the line
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Throwback sci-fi. But the big-show moments, concocted from today's blockbuster formula, clash with the '70s small-town play of these kids' lives, often nicely observed.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
If Super 8 isn't as moving as ET, as mysterious as Close Encounters, or as exciting as Raiders, it has heart, humour and sheer storytelling panache in spades.
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
Lack of Originality causes Super 8 to come undone.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
A dated, overlabored, ultimately lightweight special-effects bargain barn.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
This is not a Steven Spielberg film but you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd been actually transported back to 1979 when he was at the height of his coolness powers.
Dave White - Movies.com
J.J. Abrams employs his formidable skills in a sort of glib cinematic sleight of hand, persuading us (for a while) that he delivers more than he really does.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Abrams is great at keeping his balls in the air, but when it comes time to catch them, he's all thumbs.
Sam Adams - Philadelphia City Paper
Enormously fun. A film about 8mm that deserves to be seen on the big screen, in glorious 35mm.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
SUPER 8 seems intended to be little more than a nod to films like THE GOONIES. It certainly does not rise above them in spite of better special effects.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
[A] gorgeous pastiche of Spielberg, affectionate without being slavishly imitative...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Regrettably, writer/director JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, co-creator of TV series Lost) is better here at building suspense than paying it off.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Will probably stand as one of the film year's biggest letdowns.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
Everything about Super 8 harks back to simpler times, the music and technology of the era evoking something nostalgic and comforting without being flippant or facetious.
Tim Martain - The Mercury
Despite the complete chaos, Super 8's conclusion somehow felt anti-climactic, a blunt and barbaric cinematic shock-and-awe campaign when what had come before it had been handled with the precision of a surgical SEAL team strike.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
It's mildly entertaining while it's onscreen, but the word that finally comes to mind for me is 'undistinguished.'
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
As good as it is, Super 8 feels more like an impersonation of Spielbergian cinema rather than an elaboration.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Super 8 is a complex movie about family issues, young love and friendship, that just happens to have a strange monster running around in the background.
Sam Bathe - Fan The Fire
'Did that train just hit a car or a Michael Bay retrospective?'
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Despite the weaknesses in the story it is pretty compelling and it has good characters worth following. The special effects are good and the story upholds a fairly good moral standard too.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Loved the movie but for the family's sake I wish there had been less profanity.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Exactly what a summer entertainment should be.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
A magnificently small-focus, character driven, nice summer movie... the first and very possibly the only obviously personal tentpole movie of 2011.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
J.J.'s Close Encounter with E.T., Gremlins, Jaws and Jurassic Goonies!
Kam Williams - TheLoop21.com
If you grew up a horror nut in the Midwest, Super 8 might feel like a missing page from your childhood. And if not, well ... that train crash is still pretty mint.
Brian Juergens - CampBlood.org
It is full of things to love, but rarely has a film that had so much going for it been this deeply affected by a disappointing last reel.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Writer/director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) brought his knack for intriguing plots that drag you along without giving you much information, along with a moderately satisfying ending. Read more: Super 8 Review by Grae Drake | Movies.com
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Super 8 looks back fondly on a year that was pretty chaotic to live through, but doesn't have much to say about that, as it turns out.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
A summer movie that's made up of parts of some of the best summer movies ever made, Super 8 is neither memorable nor original, but as empty summer blockbusters go, it's a good one.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
It's just the type of kid-friendly pic its producer Steven Spielberg loves to make.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Summer is heating up with the excitement Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams bring to the big screen.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
An underwhelming sci-fi adventure with nifty special effects and strong performances by its child actors, but it's weakened by a bland, uneven screenplay that lacks palpable thrills, suspense and internal logic.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are a dream team. More please.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
'Super 8' is not flawless, but I think it contains the most memorable film sequence so far this year.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Abrams has taken a bunch of different types of films, tried to stick them all in a blender...and make a love letter to all of them at one time.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
Not perfect, but entertaining.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
... a jarringly messy blend of blue-collar angst and feel-good Spielberg ... Less a tribute to classic sci-fi than a mechanical, by-the-book exercise in How to Build a Tribute to Classic Sci-Fi.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Super 8 is a thoroughly entertaining popcorn flick, but one does get the sense of Abrams sweating up a storm in an effort to produce the sort of guileless matinee magic that Spielberg conveyed effortlessly.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
It is hard to overlook some major holes in the logic of the film, even for a sci-fi movie where concepts of logic are more fluid.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Super 8 is the cinematic equivalent of unearthing a time capsule and finding everything inside is still impossibly shiny and new.
Cole Abaius - Film School Rejects
I look forward to watching it again sometime, preferably projected on a large screen in a park some summer night.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
What we need is a good summer movie. "Super 8" is pretty close. Never mind the plot holes,dozens of unanswered questions and the abandonment of logic. Paul Chambers, CNN.
Paul Chambers - CNNRadio
Super 8 is mostly tremendous fun and it certainly hits all of its emotional cues.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Let's be honest: the b.s. sci-fi plot is so much empty machinery, which becomes steadily more apparent as the film wends its way toward a heavy-metal climax that's narratively and emotionally questionable.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Cleverer individuals than myself will no doubt snicker behind chewed fingernails at my moon-eyed walk down memory lane, but I think my cynical a-hole cred can take the hit.
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
If Abrams had stuck with the kids and cut way back on all the sci-fi hoo-ha, his film might have stood a fighting chance of being charming. Big is not always better, even when it comes to fantasies.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Teens save town in action-heavy sci-fi film with retro feel.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
The final scene, which you truly have to see for yourself to roll your eyes at, solidifies that 'Super 8' is just super foolish.
Clay Cane - BET.com
Despite its old Spielberg magic, it's J.J. Abrams' deftly applied human touches that put Super 8 over the top.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
E.T. texted a homey, Spielberg paid the earth-bound ticket, and now we have Super 8.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
Director J.J. Abrams channels his inner Spielberg -- and it mostly works
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
A popcorn blockbuster made with craft, care, enthusiasm, genuine affection for its characters and respect for its audience. It's entirely derivative, yet in this season of sequels and remakes and snark, it feels not just fresh but refreshing.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
What makes "Super 8" so good is that it is told from the viewpoint of the kids, whose emotional honesty bring a sense of reality to this fantasy thriller.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
It's E.T. on crystal meth... but in a good way.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
It's what a summer movie should be, and too often isn't.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Pandering and illogical, Super 8's plot makes no demands on viewers' intelligence.
Armond White - New York Press
Super 8 hits on many of the touchstones that one has come to associate with the youth-oriented blockbusters of the 1980s...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
For all its obvious touches of Spielbergia, Super 8 feels a whole lot like The Iron Giant meets Stand By Me. In a good way.
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
Abrams is a loving synthesist of Spielberg's themes and techniques, a worthy inheritor of his beagle-like narrative instincts ... but when it comes to the plucking of heartstrings, he lacks the true Stradivarian shamelessness of his mentor.
Tom Shone - Daily Telegraph
The film lacks suspense and gets bogged down in cheesy improbabilities and implausibilities. Joon-ho Bong's 2006 monster movie The Host was better.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
A very entertaining summer diversion
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Fun, fast homage to its many predecessors.
Probably the best movie about kids since STAND BY ME.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Good but not great. The unfinished business may tempt writer/director J.J. Abrams to do a sequel. Motel 6 anyone? We'll leave the light on for ya.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Super 8 is a tremendously entertaining summer movie that could pass as a lost Steven Spielberg work from, say, 1979, which, not coincidentally, is the story's setting.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
An awkward, overstuffed adventure that wears its influences on its sleeve but doesn't deliver on their promises. It's kinda funny, and kinda cool, but in the end you feel - basically - nothing.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
It looks great and moves well; it's exciting and funny in all the right places.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
While there's nothing wrong with looking back on 30-year-old Spielberg flicks, or 60-year-old sci-fi B-movies with rosy adoration, doing so to the point of subverting Abrams' own artistic voice mars what might have been great instead of just good.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
Works so well for an hour or so that it's disappointing to watch it unravel in the third act and then fall apart completely at the climax. In retrospect, it's a mess.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Abrams deserves a lot of credit for keeping this movie's heart in the right place even as the plot gets increasingly implausible.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
The biggest obstacle facing "Super 8" may be expectations.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Writer/director J.J. Anrams' nifty, nostalgic homage to the innocence and wonder epitomized by his mentor/producer Steven Spielberg.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
More than anything, "Super 8" is a straightforward love letter to those carefree days when anything felt possible as long as you had your friends, a movie camera and some semblance of a plan.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
The kids have no effect on the story, not the military's interference in the accident clean up, not the finale, etc. Even the Super 8 reel doesn't change their behavior, so it's almost as if the entire movie is a MacGuffin.
Adam Lippe - Examiner.com
Maybe I'll be proven wrong about the five stars, but if nothing else, Super 8 is the kind of film I loved to watch as a young teen and haven't seen for a long time.
Matt Neal - The Standard
Worthy of the adjective Spielbergian indeed.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
J.J. Abrams' Super 8 can't live up to its advanced billing, but it's still a crisp combination of 'Goonies,' 'Stand By Me' and ... I can't spoil the rest.
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
Will serve as brilliant family viewing, or viewing for science fiction geeks...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With Super 8, Steven Spielberg must be blushing like a reticent schoolgirl who just got asked to the formal.
Adam Tobias - Watertown Daily Times
A love letter to a cinematic era, before 'blockbuster' became a synonym for 'franchise' or 'tent pole.'
Christopher Orr - The Atlantic
The lasting charm of Abrams's work here is the warmth he finds in the youthful and awkward protagonists of Super 8.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
Abrams' imitation is a shade too reverent for my taste. He lacks the subversive edge that allowed Joe Dante to bite his producer's hand and bring Gremlins to life, for example, and Abrams seems unsure just how scary he wants things to get.
Tom Charity - CNN.com
The performances are all fine, the scares are good, and it looks and sounds like a cross between E.T. and Lost. Still, what's best about it is the way it taps the power of movies and stories.
Peter Galvin - sbs.com.au
As befits a Spielberg tribute, dysfunctional families come together, children come to understand their parents' travail, parents are reminded that they love their children.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
A strong Kyle Chandler enforces order as Joe's lawman dad, while Elle Fanning catapults from child star to romantic heroine as a troubled teen.
Thelma Adams - Us Weekly
Part The Goonies part War of the Worlds, J. J. Abrams' Steven Spielberg produced monster movie, Super 8, is entertaining stuff. However, it can't live up to its wonderful set-up.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
Though it won't earn any points for originality, in Abrams' hands 'Super 8' is a slick package of hand-me-down goods, smartly put together and...efficiently executed.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Elle Fanning is going to be a superstar.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Abrams has assembled a terrific cast, particularly the six focal kids with Elle Fanning ("Somewhere") giving an honest-to-God Oscar calibre performance as Alice Dainard...
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Abrams' muddled tribute to '80s Spielberg does indeed feature well-rounded human beings, but mostly forgets to put them in an interesting story.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
Even as writer/director J.J. Abrams seems bound and determined to follow a template of another's choosing, Super 8 still has a sprightly life of its own.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The result is a sci-fi monster movie that keeps its sense of fun and humanity. It's a valentine to a classically American genre -- the B-movie -- and a nostalgic look back on a more innocent time.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
An exhilarating summer ride.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
The movie doesn't quite go off the rails along with that mysterious train, but it's pretty close.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
Works as a time capsule, a moviegoing scrapbook, and a pretty nifty creature feature, though the final blend of elements lacks a tight seal that keeps the film a consistent package of delights.
Brian Orndorf - Sci-Fi Movie Page
No one understands the language of film better than these guys and their evident pleasure in the economical story-telling through visuals adds to the dazzle.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
J.J. Abrams' lovingly nostalgic tribute to early Spielberg will make you look back fondly to a time when a group of schoolkids could outsmart the government.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Ultimately, it's the period and character details in Super 8 that provide the grist for its winning formula, rather than its emotional arc and monster jolts.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Like a too-faithful adaptation afraid to tweak the novel, this pleasant Spielberg-adoring nostalgia-fest is easier to admire than to love. It's borrowed magic.
Caryn James - James on screenS
J.J. Abrams takes this warm concept and turns it into an impersonal sci-fi thriller, capsized by an increasing overload of digital effects.
Jon Niccum - Kansas City Star
It's as full of rich characters as it is smart popcorn-movie scares.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Abrams, unfortunately, is not Spielberg. But why should he be? Who else is?
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
Often exciting and entertaining.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
A fitfully entertaining, loving tribute, but little more.
Brett Michel - Boston Phoenix
An entertaining and fun time at the movies like they used to make them. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
...the result is clunky and predictable, not streamlined and exciting like the Spielberg films of old.
Frank Lovece - Film Journal International
Super 8 is worth the extra effort to remain in the dark, so its old-school popcorn delights stay fresh. Abrams is dealing with an alien, but what he's really fiddling with is time travel, back to the '80s when kids hadn't yet seen it all.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Its pleasures are borrowed, but durable.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Ultimately comes apart in its attempts to fuse an earnest and sweet coming-of-age tale with a far less effective sci-fi/horror creature feature
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
It's spirited and funny and deeply entertaining, a summer movie for kids who think like adults and adults who feel like kids.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
A rather mean-spirited retelling of the E.T. story . . .
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
The bifurcated "Super 8" is emotionally resonant before asserting its blockbuster aspirations.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It's the lame script, awful direction and total lack of heart or intelligence that makes this extremely agonizing to sit through.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
Super 8 rekindles your wonder with the movies.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
Abrams and executive producer Steven Spielberg are reprising a few of their own greatest hits, and creating the kind of Saturday-matinee adventure that kids of a bygone era would have raced to the neighborhood movie house to see.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A delightful, touching and engrossing coming-of-age story that just happens to have a rampaging monster in it as well.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Super 8 is filled with great moments that don't always work great together.
Scott A. Mantz - Access Hollywood
If you're wondering what's missing from so many big-budget, effects-driven Hollywood movies, the answer lies in J.J. Abrams' Super 8: heart and passion. What's happening onscreen really matters to the young people in the story-so it matters to us too...
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Super 8 takes its place among the best B-grade science fiction movies of this generation by copying the best of the past 50 years.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Super 8 is really about the thrill Abrams must have felt when he and his buddies discovered films and filmmaking, awakening in them that ancient drive to tell stories.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
Breathing new life into these old forms is a next-to-impossible mission, but if the skeletons in your closet are made of celluloid, "Super 8" will be more of a treat than a trick.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Super 8 is an unapologetic joy from beginning to end that will thrill and engage kids, both old and new.
David Michael Brown - Empire Magazine Australasia
Super 8 is such an authentic homage to the glory and excess of Spielberg that it barely has its own identity. It's been body-snatched by its own influences.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
None of this is exactly fresh - '8' pays homage to venerable sci-fi cliches and revisits territory Spielberg has covered before. But what's so refreshing is how effortlessly entertaining it turns out to be. The plot's engine practically purrs.
Rossiter Drake - San Francisco Examiner
Super 8 shows that Abrams is not so good at making Steven Spielberg films.
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
That is about as 'best of both worlds' as one could ask for.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Harks back to the kind of film Spielberg was producing in the late '70s and early '80s... For much of its length, Super 8 is comparable with the best of these films.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
I must confess that my anticipation for this film was up there on the same level I felt standing in line to see "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" or "The Empire Strikes Back." And I have to say that my anticipation was met in spades.
Michael A. Smith - Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Super 8 is a loving, heartfelt but hollow pastiche.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
While it wears its cinematic influences on its sleeves, this is a true original, creating a world that feels utterly real, exciting and wonderfully nostalgic.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
Super 8 is a movie of many marvelous surprises. It mixes period authenticity... with postmodern techniques to thrill, enthrall, and engage.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Super 8 is great. Wildly fun. J.J. Abrams is such a pro.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Budding teen romance, menacing military men and not one but two dysfunctional dads are checked off like a how-to Spielberg kit with a depressing lack of intellectual heft.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
Halfway through Super 8 I stopped thinking about the films that inspired Abrams to make it and started envisioning the works that would be inspired by THIS movie. Yes, it's that good.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
While the line between inspiration and imitation blurs, what remains crystal clear is that Super 8 has been made with nothing but the purest of intentions: to entertain.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
In a manner similar to Gus Van Sant's Psycho, it's merely a high-resolution photocopy devoid of its revered predecessors' soul.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
What Abrams has created here is a near-perfect summer movie.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
To watch Super 8 is to witness the birth of our current geek culture.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
A mind-blowing masterpiece. The films works perfectly on both an emotional and suspenseful level. Every aesthetic from Giacchino's score to Abrams' use of lens flares was epic!
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
A combination of period science-fiction tale and coming-of-age story whose paths eventually collide in disconnected schmaltz.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Never forgets that special effects and sheer spectacle mean nothing if there aren't relatable characters and an emotional thematic throughline to first and foremost care about.
However much of this you've seen before, Abrams succeeds in making it all mean something again.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Spectacularly bottles the Spielbergian magic-actually, that feels like an understatement; the movie is a full-pound Spielberger.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Super 8 is a welcome dose of nostalgia, since we're reminded that CGI-heavy disaster flicks can still maintain essential ingredients like character and heart.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
There is, of course, a Big Showdown at the end which is appropriately satisfying, but Super 8 really is more about the nostalgic journey than the futuristic destination.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
Super 8 is a live-action episode of Robot Chicken, as delivered by a Steven Spielberg tribute band.
David Poland - Movie City News
More than just a simple imitation ... a richly developed and entirely sincere appreciation of [Steven] Spielberg's savvy for mass audience entertainment.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
...like E.T., this is an adventure story that revolves around a group of ordinary kids doing something extraordinary, often despite the adults in their world.
Jenna Busch - Screen Junkies
A great leap forward for someone who already has proven himself as a formidable TV auteur..what a great summer movie should be - indeed, what a great movie should be anytime.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
While Super 8 lacks some of the emotional punch and heart so masterfully orchestrated by Spielberg, it does capture some of the magic, surprise, and excitement of his early works.
Mark Sells - The Reel Deal
This is more of the *batteries not included Amblin than The Goonies Amblin. It turns out to be a patronizing exercise in fabricated childhood emotion.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
Super 8 is complete. That sounds more like a minimum requirement for a movie rather than grounds for a rave, but it's astounding just how fulfilling J.J. Abrams' latest film is.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
It would be easy to dismiss as 100 percent ersatz if it didn't rekindle at least some of the old excitement -- and if the magic of Spielberg's older movies didn't filter through, like light from a distant galaxy.
It's so much fun to watch these cheeky, loveable kids pull together and navigate their way through this extraordinary adventure.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
While other filmmakers have been inspired by Spielberg to push the envelope, J.J. Abrams seems happy to try to make one like they used to, except not as successfully.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
It's not a bad movie, but the emotional tags fail to kick in, and the surface story is all there is
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
J.J. Abrams rekindles the child in all of us in this super film that is all at once sci-fi thriller, mystery adventure and coming of age story. It's got heart, too.
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
[VIDEO] "Super 8" is made by young-minded adults who haven't lost their sense of inspiration for the magic of making movies from a child's perspective.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Abrams channels conventions and cliches of 1950s genre movies by way of paying tribute to Spielberg's classics, resulting in a nostalgic, sharply uneven tale that lacks the master's coherent and elegant style.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Abrams tackles Super 8 like it's a time capsule, emphasizing cartoony period details while ignoring the cohesiveness of the stories that came before his.
Todd Gilchrist - Boxoffice Magazine
When Super 8 works, though, it really works, earnestly and without manipulation.
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
Super 8 is still fun, and often funny too. It's also entertaining, and sometimes even a little startling.
Ariel Katz - The Vine
While it has good performances and looks pretty, SUPER 8 is a movie that, in the end, does not fully work on any level except for cheap nostalgia porn.
Super 8 is a fun-filled tribute to creature features, mayhem and finding your way in the world.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
In some way Super 8 is the ultimate found footage piece and for once we are not yelling back at the screen to put down the camera.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Super 8 is a noble effort that gets a lot right, and a lot wrong.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Action packed and dramatically fulfilling, Super 8 is J.J. Abrams love letter to the adventure found in youth and tribute to the early films of Steven Spielberg.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
... the film's gentle charms and young cast won me over, and in the end, this is a lovely look at getting over pain and letting go, wrapped in just a bit of sci-fi and wonder.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Abrams' genius lies in finding that early Spielberg vibe without losing his own auteurial voice in the process.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Super 8 is a blast to watch, that kind of well-oiled summer entertainment that both surprises you and gives you exactly what you want.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
Super 8 is the perfect summer movie riddled with the kind of action, heart, and fun that most filmmakers would kill to be able to conjure.
Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton - Dread Central
'Super 8' can be simplified as 'E.T.' meets 'Cloverfield'... [it] truly is the beginning and the end of summer blockbusters...
Brad Miska - Bloody Disgusting
Super 8 doesn't possess the top-to-bottom greatness of the films it's modelled on but, in shooting for the stars, leaves 90% of modern blockbusters in the gutter.
Jamie Graham - Total Film