"What do you get when you mix E.T. and The Goonies with Stand By Me?"
In truth, that joke isn't a fair way to describe Super 8, the Steven Spielberg produced movie written and directed by J.J. Abrams. The flick is solid, especially in the first half when we are becoming acquainted with the characters. Super 8 can stand on its own as a well made, moving, thought-provoking work of art; it was well acted, visually appealing, and interesting.
Throughout, though, I kept waiting for a discussion about Pez candy. Or -- during one of dozens of bike scenes -- for one of the kids to fly his bike into the sky and across the moon in silhouette.
Abrams' Super 8 is that much of an homage to the coming of age movies from a generation ago. So much so it was distracting.
Coming of age flicks rely on young actors to carry a mature storyline. The child actors of Super 8, particularly Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths, give complex and layered performances. The adults in the film, however, are stereotypical and one-dimensional.
Just like most kids see adults in real life.
Filmed in and near Weirton, West Virginia, Super 8 garnered a lot of buzz during the past few months. Most of that buzz had to do with how secretive Abrams was with details about the movie. The anticipation caused me to leave the theater disappointed, even though I generally liked the movie.
I just expected more.