Story: A group of kids out filming a scene late at night see something they weren’t meant to and eventually unravel a government secret.
Review: It’s largely a kids movie, aimed shamelessly towards wannabe filmmakers, and Spielberg has just a tiny whiff of the E.T plot in there towards the end. There are one or two slightly unnecessarily silly scenes that last a few seconds, but overall I think it’s a really great movie. Even the frequent, super obvious one-liners are funny (e.g., the kids are trying to escape exploding stuff and the alien, but an older teenager is too stoned to be moved. One of the boys yells, “Drugs are so bad!”). And, of course, there’s the obligatory Lucas/Spielberg line of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” in there too (slightly reworded, in this case). Also, there seems to be more of Spielberg’s style in this than that of the director, J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Lost, Alias). Nonetheless, the Cloverfield-like treatment of actually seeing the alien is duly noted. I’m not sure how I feel about the portrayal of parents in this film. It’s something along the lines of, “Well, they’re kinda dumb and over-emotional, but at least their intentions are good and they’re trying their best, so we love them anyway” kind of a deal. Even so it’s nice to see Kyle Chandler (from Early Edition) in a somewhat likable role again as the moderately grumpy, but fairly bright father of the protagonist.
Recommended for: Fans of The Goonies, Independence Day, E.T.
Content Notes: (14) – There’s a bit of swearing and splattered blood, and the alien might look too scary to younger kids. Not nearly as gory as Jurassic Park though.