Super 8, written and directed by JJ Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg

If Super 8 felt a little familiar to you, that’s probably because it was. Written and directed by Lost‘s JJ Abrams, Super 8 is an obvious homage to those handful of films from the late ’70s-’80s that coined the term ‘summer blockbuster.’

After the jump, find out what worked and what didn’t in this sci-fi megahit.

Scene for scene, Abrams hits on all the familiar notes we as an audience have come to expect from a film of this genre; from the epic soundtrack by Michael Giacchino and stellar effects, to the kind-of-cliche tale of ‘Average Joe becomes Unexpected Hero, saves world and gets the girl.’ It should also be pointed out that the main characters of this film are primarily child actors between the ages of 13-16. Normally child actors lack the experience to carry a film of this magnitude, but this cast of young actors were probably better than those twice their age.

While Super 8 isn’t a perfect movie, it is a good one. It’s a scary, edge-of-your-seat sci-fi movie perforated by tender coming-of-age moments that really tug at your heart strings. And despite an ending that felt a little flimsy, I still felt entertained enough to say I’d definitely see it again.

So if you’re a fan of those early Spielberg movies, i.e., Jaws, E.T., etc., Super 8 may not feel quite the same, but it’s damn close.