I generally try to avoid making comparisons of films, simply because they’re abundant and it’s easy. However, in the case of Super 8, the latest mysterious thrillfest from J.J. Abrams, I’m forced to make one. Put inelegantly, this is Abram’s version of E.T. You’ve got kids on bikes, kids saying “shit” a lot, a curiously acrimonious government group, and, as the fulcrum, an alien far from home. This is not a retelling or a reimagining, so much as it is an homage to one of the greats and one of his great films (It probably didn’t hurt to have the “great” in question on set as a producer). Abrams certainly departs from Steven Spielberg’s classic coming-of-age; his film is darker and nastier, not nearly so light on violence or familial tension. But there’s no getting around it: Super 8 is cut from the same cloth as Spielberg’s 1982 Oscar winner, and for many, will cement the connection between these two wildly successful film nerds.