If you’re a fan of early Spielberg films like The Goonies, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you’ll just love Super 8. Even if you’re not (and I have to admit that I dislike ET rather quite a bit), Super 8 offers a fun action film with a strong story, a gang of likable kids who stumble across a startling adventure while making their own amateur 8mm horror film that they hope to submit to a local film competition.

The movie revolves around pre-teen pals Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), Charles (Riley Griffiths), Preston (Zach Mills), Cary (Ryan Lee), Martin (Gabriel Basso) and Alice (Elle Fanning) and is set in late 1979 in the small steel-mill town of Lillian, Ohio. Joe’s Mom has died in a mill accident as the film opens and he’s left with just his taciturn father, deputy sheriff Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler).

Being a Spielberg film (yeah, I know, J.J. Abrams directed it), it has the usual tropes of kids are good, adults are bad, and a complete distrust of authority and especially the military. Where have we seen these before?  Oh yeah, in every Spielberg film.

Still, the special effects are very slick and the intertwined stories of the amateur film the kids are making, the monster that’s been unleashed on the community after a dramatic US Air Force train crashing just outside of town, and the various investigations the police and military are focused on work together to keep the viewer entertained and intrigued.

In short, this is one of the most enjoyable story-driven sci-fi films I’ve seen in a long time. I really had high hopes for Super 8 and they were met. It was really fun!