This summer's first delightful surprise is J.J. Abrams' "Super 8," a movie that brings out producer Steven Spielberg's best instincts at combining 1950s B-sci-fi/horror flicks with a story centered on very funny middle school kids.
Abrams wrote and directed this little gem and he's the star, since you won't know anybody in the movie. It is an ensemble cast with a lot of new faces and five boys who form the core of the story with their efforts to make a zombie movie for a local competition. That's where the trouble starts. They're filming in a train station after midnight (these kids find it so easy to sneak out; where were they when I needed them?) when an Air Force train--carrying mysterious cargo--crashes (they get it on Super 8 film) and causes all kinds of mayhem.
Like the 1950s science fiction/alien invader movies, this one casts the Air Force as the bad guy and the alien as a poor lonely soul trying to get back home while he causes epic levels of havoc. The boys--and a pretty young girl they bring in to liven up their own movie--form the core of the action.
"Super 8" is for grandparents, parents and middle schoolers--going together and enjoying the movie equally for very different reasons. But enjoy it you will. It's a special movie.