Maybe that is being a little harsh. I will take that title back slightly and say that SUPER 8 is super okay. Abrams tries to catch the same cinematic magic that E.T. delivered back in the awesome 80's with a story about a boy and an alien but this time there are huge explosions, jumping out of the way of stuff action pieces and enough lens flares to make even Michael Bay scratch his head. The characters are likable yet mostly forgettable. The story is character driven but takes the focus a little too much away from the mystery about the alien. There is no connection with the main character and the supposed evil monster run amok. Well I guess there is a little connection at the end with the alien, but there is touching involved. That's not good.
So the story revolves around this boy named Joe Lamb whose mother died in an accident at a steel mill or factory or whatever. Apparently the boy's mother took a shift from a guy who called in because he was too hung over. This causes a rift between the boy's father and the guy who was suppose to work that fateful day. The guy has a daughter named Alice but neither father wants the boy or the girl to hang out together because seeing each other's kids reminds them of painful memories. But Joe and Alice hang out together anyway while helping their friend film his zombie movie. Oh! And there is an alien running around killing people.
I did enjoy the back story of Joe Lamb and how the death of his mother effects his life but SUPER 8 focuses way too much time on that and almost forgets about the dang alien. The kids are shooting a zombie movie with Super 8 film. The whole point of calling the movie SUPER 8 is because they capture the alien escaping a wrecked train on film. But they don't discover that until about an hour or more into the movie. By that time we already know it is an alien running around. Capturing the creature on film only helps a little at the end to help convince some other characters like the dad that there is a monster on the loose. By this time in the film everyone should know because its running around creating all kinds of strange shenanigans. The fact that the monster is caught of film is almost completely meaningless. But how else are they going to call the movie SUPER 8?
Worse of all this is suppose to be some kind of weird homage to E.T. or something. At the movie's core SUPER 8 is about a boy and his alien. This time however the small friendly E.T. is replaced by a giant pissed off alien that looks like freakin Megatron from the TRANSFORMERS movies. The alien is good except the evil military caught it back in the sixties and held it prisoner. Now it thinks all people are bad. Then at the end after we see it kill a couple of innocent people the boy makes friends with it and then the alien's ship magically builds itself from common everyday junk allowing the alien to finally escape into space. I guess we are suppose to feel sympathy for the alien but 1.) like Megatron it kills people and 2.) it looks like Megatron. I can't feel sorry for that. SUPER 8 pays more homages to the recently released TRANSFORMERS movies than it does E.T.
SUPER 8 isn't all bad but it doesn't quite hit the mark. The movie is slow and tries to be funny but mostly it is all stuff you have seen before. I feel like the movie tries too hard to be "Speilbergian". Speilberg made larger than life movies that pushed the boundaries of special effects and what could be put to film. But they had great characters that were brought to life effortlessly through the natural progression of the story. Nowadays everything is done with computers and character development is forced with cliched sad back stories. Everything in E.T. looked or felt real. SUPER 8 is too artificial. I would say that SUPER 8 has heart. Its just that it is a high tech artificial heart that can transform into a handgun or tank.