Earth To Echo (2014)
Directed by Dave Green
Brian “Astro” Bradley
Reese C. Hartwig
Running time: 89 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.
I was actually really looking forward to seeing this movie. There don’t seem to be many live-action family movies these days that are enjoyable for the whole family. A lot of “family” movies are aimed purely at the kids, who filmmakers seem to think are idiots so they dumb the movies down and throw in a bunch of childish humor. I have a confession to make: I really like Night At The Museum. It’s fun! I enjoyed it and kids enjoyed it. That’s what I mean by a good “family” movie. Remember things like Big? They used to make good live-action family movies like that all the time! I don’t know why there are so few these days. Anyway – that’s what I was hoping for from Earth To Echo. Unfortunately, it’s not a great movie overall (It’s no E.T.!) but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
I saw this in a packed cinema and the kids of around 8 or 9 or so really seemed to like it. They reacted positively to a lot of things and laughed several times at the likeable “geeky” boy. I think that kids who grow up with this movie will always be fond of it in the same way that people my age are fond of E.T. (I have to say this once again, though – this is no E.T.! I’ll probably say that again before this review is over). 😉
There are too many things “wrong” with this movie that stop it from being something that could ever be considered a family classic. The storyline is a bit weak, the pacing is off & it takes way too long for anything to really happen, they don’t show enough of the adorable Echo who should really be the star of the show, and I think making this a “found footage” film was a big mistake and means that it won’t be timeless like, I dunno… E.T.? Ha! There I go with E.T. again. Seriously, though – could you imagine if Spielberg had made that a found footage film (if, you know, that had been a thing back then…)?? Finally, Earth To Echo just tries too hard to be too many existing movies but doesn’t live up to any of them. It’s a weird mash-up of The Goonies, Chronicle, Batteries Not Included, Explorers, and, umm… E.T.!) 😉
Where Earth To Echo succeeds, however, is with the main characters of the three boys & their friendship. I found them very believable and they talked the way “real” kids talk and I can imagine them actually being friends in real life. They have very different personalities but they worked together really well. It’s a shame that the movie lets them down because I think they did a good job. Also, Echo is adorable! Like I said, though, they don’t show enough of him. I realize that this movie was focusing more on the friendship between the boys, however, and Echo is the thing that makes them even closer.
Overall, Earth To Echo doesn’t quite work. I was really hoping for something better based on the trailers but at least there are some strong characters and a great little alien. I think people have been far too harsh on this movie, however – it’ll never live up to the classics it’s trying to be but it definitely has its good points. Kids will like it fine & adults won’t hate having to sit through it.
My Rating: 6/10