As mimicry, it is good. As fan-service, it is serviceable. But it adds nothing to the underlying tapestry. Whatever pleasures are there are imported from other movies. The audience applauds when the actors enter, but that's only out of respect for their past work. Could you imagine if J, K. Rowling did an eighth Harry Potter book and it was the next generation running through the same plot as the last? If Go Set A Watchmen had been about another trial of another African-American, a year later?
Tag: J. J. Abrams
Many years ago, an exasperated student asked me "What is Pulp Fiction about?" After thinking for a few moments, I finally conceded, "It's about how much Quentin Tarantino likes making movies." I thought briefly after the screening of Super 8 how I would answer the same question. That one is a little easier: "It's about how J.J. Abrams likes him some Steven Spielberg."
I don't imagine kids running out of Abrams' movie and staring at the nighttime sky, and wondering about the mysteries of the universe, and perhaps getting inspired to visit their local science museums or become engaged with astronomy or space travel. What I see are frat boys saying, "dude, let's get totally smashed and check out that bangin' Star Trek movie," and then forgetting about having watched it ten minutes after the movie's over.