J.J. Abrhams, who is the director, is one of the best sci-fy screenwriters today. And being produced by Stephen Speilberg, it has an odd similarity to E.T. Now there is a lot of over done action scenes, CGF or whatever it is called. That did not necessarily ruin the feel of the action, but after a while you just wanted that scene to end. This is one of the ongoing flaws of Hollywood productions today, so I will not criticize it harshly.
While filming a scene for a homade zombie movie, a group of friends witness a bizzare train wreck. Set in the summer of 1979, things start happening in their small town of Lilian, Ohio. Joe Lamb's (Joel Courtney) father, Jack Lamb (Kyle Chandler, is the deputy of the town and quickly becomes overwhelmed by the numerous strange incidents. So Joe and his gang of friends, head out to investigate for themselves.
When I refer to gang I mean, Joe (Joel Courtney), the focus of the story. Charles (Riley Griffiths), the bossy, and a little overweight, director, and a trust-worthy friend. Cary (Ryan Lee), a kid obsessed with fire and blowing things up, a typical imature boy. One of those boys you suspect has some type of hyperactive disorder, but you are not really sure. Martin (Gabriel Brasso), the dork. And Preston (Zach Mills), a wimp who thinks over every situation until he finds some way that it might go wrong. It is an amazingly realistic portrayle of middle-school imaturity and spot on everyday interaction with eachother. I knew every one of those boys in my middle-school. To the inth degree J.J. Abrhams has made those characters at point that they were no longer characters but people. Boys who could be sitting next to you at the theater.
Joel Courtney is incredible for a child actor of his generation. I can say the same about his costar, Riley Griffiths, who plays Charles. I type this with shaking hands, because I would have never known this if I had not looked it up. This is the first time acting, for both of them. For most of the boys in fact. Elle Fanning, Dakota Fanning's little sister, who obviously takes after her in the way of talent, plays Alice Dainard. Her act does not go unnoticed. Even though Alice is for the most part important to the film and storyline, I found myself wanting to see more of Joe's character. Of course a major film can not get produced with out some sort of romance, so figure it out yourselves.
I think that this movie could have been split. One plot, a family drama, and the other, a sci-fi comedy. But the plots do come together very easily towards the end, although I do not think it neccesary. This ease is not very common which is also a way this movie works.
Something that bothers me though is the rating. It is rated PG-13. To me it seems like it should be rated R. There is a lot of blood and cussing. Thank god I did not take my little sister to see it, which I was going to. 10 and up is my recommended age.
I have seen this movie three times. You should at least see it once.