Phil Wheeler’s review:
First of all, let me say that any alien film that Steven Spielberg is involved in is ultimately going to finish in a predictable way. The censor's warning of "Violence and fantasy horror" coupled with the M rating is grossly optimistic.
If E.T. jumped in the sack with Goonies and had an illegitimate love child, the result would be Super 8. Abrams is a very competent director and the film's premise is solid. There is tension and plenty of action throughout, but the inescapable direction the film is destined to take becomes clear about half-way through the story and from there it could only end one way.
I've seen too many Spielberg movies that have had their potential wasted by his almost pathological need to end with giving the viewer a warm, fuzzy cuddle. Who knows how A.I. could have turned out if Kubrick had lived to finish his work?
As it stands, the directing is sound, the effects are credible and enjoyable and the overall plot is engaging, but I can't help but feel this film could have been more than it was; which is a pedestrian sci-fi action film that is a pleasant way to kill an evening but leaves you feeling unchallenged, unmoved and ultimately unimpressed.