Yeah I got my copy when I was in like 7th or 8th grade. If hes going to use it, its really worth the money. Your not going to get a program that does stuff like this for a lower price. This is actually extremely cheap for a program with this kind of capability. I'm currently looking at $600-$800 programs.
As far as the community. Its great, really. They will help you with really anything and you can talk to the people from the company directly. Simon Jones, one of the main Fxhome guy, if not the face of the company, at least on this forum has replied to a number of my posts even when its not directed at him. For the most part everyone is really friendly and helpful.EDIT:
I go to these guys for every computer/technological question I have. Its honestly the best online community i've ever been part of and people really seem to get along.
As far as the program its self. Not only are there hundreds of "preset" effects (effects that are pre-made for immediate use in your film), but you can create effects from scratch. Effects include:
-Muzzle Flashes (Flash when a gun is fired)
-Grading (Basically the coloring added to the film to give a feeling [not the best definition, but for your sake its good enough])
-Particle effects (fire, smoke, rain, magic)
Your son should really have fun adding all kinds of effects and thing. The particle engine should come in useful, he'll be able to create computer generated fire without lighting a single match and burning your house down
Also, this program can be used for any level of video production. Your can be a 12 year old kid, or an amateur film maker, this program will work for you. It supports HD quality video if he ever wants to upgrade his camera. Due to the customizable effects there is always room for improvement and new things.One thing to consider though.
This program is for visual
effects. It is not ideal for putting movies together and sequencing shots. It does not
work with sound in the program. What you can have your son do, is put his shots into something like Windows Movie Maker which is called an NLE (Non-Linear Editing System) to sequence shots and add sound. Then he can export the video and open it up in EffectsLab. Vise Versa.
If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask. Me or anyone on else on the site will be happy to answer you. If your interested in the difference between CompositeLab and EffectsLab and some more of their capabilities, I wrote up a big paragraph on what they do before on the site and I can send it to you.
Best of luck with your decisions.