When setting out to do a piece of sci-fi or fantasy, every writer knows to make the backdrop of the story as real as possible. However, in their attempt to recreate small-town Americana for this monster movie, JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg create a hollow pulp copy and commit the largest of sins in the monster-film genre: they make their monster incongruous and not very scary. JJ is so good at making families of spies and space-age heroes real to us, but he somehow failed to make the human characters in Super 8 seem like more than cardboard-cut plot devices. The emotions were forced, the set-ups too nicely concocted. This seems like it could have been a movie by M. Night Jambalaya. And that’s not a good thing.