JJ Abrams excels at is telling stories about people while distracting the audience with something quite outlandish. That's unfortunate. I think he's trying to show us how characters react to unthinkable situations and how they relate to one another in the face of some absurd adversity.
In the case of Super 8 he almost succeeded in presenting the kind of movie I have not seen since 1982's beloved classic, E.T. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Super 8 could well have been this generation’s “E.T.”. Could have been … except for the fact that this generation is utterly incapable of responding to cinema in such a simple and honest way. Today’s audiences seem to be totally vested in effects laden superhero movies or romantic comedies which are little more than formulaic star vehicles. I’m sure you know what I mean. They put the current “it girl” together with the emotionally unavailable hunk or the improbable underdog and apply a generous helping of improbability. By t he end of the movie … it’s true love.
Super 8 allows the audience to connect with very human characters. The character development of Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning) is once again reminiscent of Elliot and Gertie from ET The Extra terrestrial. I won’t spoil this for you. Go see for yourself.