Dubbed as the family film of the summer this one is being noted as homage to Spielberg who produces the film.
Yes, it is a cracking movie. However, for me, what lets it down is that it over-stretches itself in every frame. It has been over-produced. It felt to me like someone had decided they could have loads of money to make it, so they should spend every penny.
I got the impression that JJ Abrams wanted to make ET but decided to make Transformers 8. There was so much unnecessary detail to each scene that it did distance the viewer from the closeness and charm of the script.
If they had taken out 80% of the special effects, the bombs, the military, the train crash – all spectacular moments to witness, but not moments that enhanced the plot at all, then this would have been a much more personal and impressive movie.
The alien could have been captive for example in a bus, the bus could have crashed in a small town, and an elite and quirky team of bad guys sent in to capture it, whilst the kids played out their own mission. This, in my view, would have been a better film than train-crash, military, bombs, town-evacuation etc. Sometimes less is more.