Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review 279: "Earth to Echo"

No one will ever believe our story.

E.T. 2: The Goonies

      Earth to Echo is a 2014 found footage family movie. Originally set to be released in April, the film was pushed back to Fourth of July weekend, when it proceeded to bomb. The film is directed by Dave Green and is written by Henry Gayden, both of whom are relative newcomers, with this being both of theirs first big film. The film follows three close young friends, Tuck (Brian "Astro" Bradley), Alex (Teo Halm) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) who are all faced with the fact that they will soon be moving apart after their neighborhood is purchased and a highway is to be put in it's place. On their last night together, they decide to track down the cause of their malfunctioning cell phones. The only clue is a mysterious map leading out to the desert. Upon getting their, they find a stranded alien they nickname Echo and decide to spend their last night help Echo to rebuild his ship. However, along the way they team up with Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), the popular girl from their school and face off against a mysterious construction worker (Jason Gray-Stanford). 

He comes from a race of Robo-Owls.
Trailers Always Spoil

      Earth to Echo is the kind of movie where you have to wonder if somebody in the marketing department have a grudge with the director of the film. Maybe the director set the marketer's dog on fire or something because Earth to Echo's trailer might very well have been one of the worst trailers ever made. It made the film out to be a rip-off of both E.T. and The Goonies with the unneeded addition of found footage. And yeah, that's pretty much what the film is, but what the trailers left out was just how damn good the film was at doing those things. The film might not being doing all that much original stuff, but it's so genuine in what it is doing that it's hard not to simply like the film. Part of the reason is the fact that the actors are actually pretty good. All are believable with their only real flaw being occasionally going a little over the top. It's also nice to see Randy from Monk pop up again too.

The First Frontier

      And as for the comparisons to other film, yeah, this film isn't exactly not a rip-off of E.T. and The Goonies, but as I said earlier the fact that the film is so sincere helps you forget about the similarities pretty quickly, especially when you consider that this will be many kid's first film with this type of formula. And I'm okay with that. Overall, the film is just plain fun. It's inventive with how the kids interact with Echo and makes the kids seem like actual kids. Bonus point for the film showing the kids having great connections with their phones and electronics and not having it be a bad thing. The best thing about Echo is that is genuinely seems to understand today's generation (This coming from a part of today's generation) and it's nice to see the film treat their connection with electronics and with social media as being okay. Although it does raise the question on how the kids can say that "No one will ever believe our story" and then apparently post their videos to YouTube. Or explain some of the setpieces of the film. Best not to think about it.

No comment.
The Verdict

      It might seem like nothing more than a rip-off of other classic family films, but Earth to Echo is closer to the real deal than most other films get. While the film isn't that original, features needless found footage and has some fairly large plot holes, the genuineness of the film makes it easy to forgive those things. The actors are all solid and the film is well written, featuring a look at our generation that does feel the need to judge our obsession with electronics. Overall, the film's very refreshing, if a bit shallow. Kinda like a pool! Get it? It's summer... Earth to Echo gets 5 stars out of 6.

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