If you like Speilberg and J. J. Abrams you'll love this film. If you find their particular styles annoying, well the good news is the mixture of the two styles mellow both out. I myself found this to be an enjoyable film with more than a little emotional resonance. I think kids would truly enjoy this film and the box office seems to prove that.
Set in a small town in a decade far far away (1979), a bunch of kids are trying to finish a film using the above titled Super 8 film. There's the dreamer kid, and the pyro kid, and the why am I with these kids kid, and there is also the sad kid. He has good reason to be sad because his mother was killed four months earlier in an industrial accident. He and his dad are at best distant. He's staying on the project out of friendship and just to keep his mind occupied.
One fateful night they add a girl to their boys club because they needed an actress. There are instant sparks between the the bad girl who's really not that bad and the sad kid. Their dad's hate each other, and she definitely doesn't trust a cop's kid. She's specially paranoid since she "borrowed" her dad's car and doesn't even have a license. Of course, they are eventually going to put that all aside and fall in love(?), infatuation? Whatever that first real feeling is.
Meanwhile though we have a film to shoot. The film within a film is charmingly um... ed woodian but hey they are just kids. Suddenly, though into all this fun comes a train. Filming it as it passes by ("Production value!" shouts the director/producer/writer) they catch the train as it runs off the rails. Boy howdy it does, this is one of those times where a big special effects budget was really used well. It was like a sudden thanksgiving feast for the eyes! The kids all live (how I'll never know), but they are forced to beat feet quick as the army (air force actually) comes and they leave behind their camera.
Of course what the scooby gang don't know is something else got out of the wreckage. Something we aren't going to SEE for like an hour. Thank you Mr. "I am Cloverfield" Abrams. Yeah, I know it's suppose to heighten suspense, but come on. Show the Damn thingofamabobby before we die of old age, 'kay?
Anyway, the rest of the film tracks the monster, our gangs interaction with said monster, and the fraught emotional confrontation between our characters as they sort out both past and present. Oh and young love, can't forget that. I'd go into more detail, but really it's much more enjoyable to watch for yourself.
Overall, as I said this is a great film. My only real gripe is as I stated above they are very leery about giving us a good look at the beastie from the train. I love the feeling of nostalgia the film generates. I know it made me remember the one film I made using super 8, and more importantly the friends I had then. This is one of those rare films where adults and kids can both watch without insulting the intelligence of either.