“Earth to Echo” – Review by Matt Marshall

"Earth to Echo" (2014) - Movie Review - We Live Film

‘Earth to Echo’ Gets Disconnected Fast

by Matt Marshall

Earth to Echo firmly believes it’s this generation’s E.T., The Goonies and Stand by Me all wrapped into one. The end result is a film that implies that fame, but doesn’t even bother achieving said accolade.

The film centers around three Nevada middle school kids days before a major change in their neighborhood. All their homes are set to be demolished to make way for a new highway. Fate would have it that the boys get one last adventure. Their three smartphones start receiving weird signals, leading them to something not of this world.

Like so many other millennials, the boys are obsessively tech savvy. Whizzes at Google Maps, they somehow venture around Nevada in the dark for miles with only each other and their bikes. Earth to Echo isn’t exactly what you’d call found footage, but it toys around with the same aesthetics. The boys work between several cameras – one traditional, the other being spyglasses. The problem, like the found footage genre in a whole is its nauseating cinematography.

Earth to Echo panders heavily to the younger audiences, who are used to non-stop documentation. It’s becoming more commonplace in recent years, but here it’s nothing short of a gimmick. Sure enough, director Dave Green could have gone for a more traditional approach for a lasting effect. It’s a shame that Earth to Echo is less visually coherent than a Michael Bay film at times.

At least the three young leads work well with one another. Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck (Astro) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) feel like three close friends being ripped apart. That’s as far as this bond evolves. Individually, they’re forgettable and stereotypical with a few notable moments here and there. But the anchor keeping them together is painfully derivative.

SEE ALSO: Earth to Echo – Review by Zachary Marsh

Everything seen and done in Earth to Echo has done before and done better. A group of friends go on a last ditch adventure. Check. A weird little alien comes crashing down. Check. It’s no cardinal sin to borrow heavily from another film. It boils down to this film lacking identity or substance when leaving the theater.

All that’s left to be invested in is the pint-sized alien robot Echo. Echo is an adorable mix of the robotic owl Bubo from Clash of the Titans and the game Simon. But his quest to return home grows cumbersome when the little guy causes so much mayhem. Along the way, Echo requires pieces to rebuild his ship. Instead of a simple hunt, entire buildings rip apart just for the smallest item.

It’s real convenient for the trio to immediately latch onto Echo. They only know the character for what, a few hours. And the information comes from round after round of 20 questions. Befriending a magic 8-ball would be better. The entire film takes place over the course of one night. And while, it’s easy to look the other direction, this is hardly the only glaring convenience here.

Earth to Echo has difficulty sustaining what should be a breezy, fun 85 minute run time. Outside of the noisy and repetitive sequences, the rest of the film is cookie-cutter adventure. The parents of these kids are oblivious and primarily absent. One of the kids jokingly tells his parent that he’s going to rob a bank before heading off. The big bad construction worker crossing paths with the kids is just as flat.

For kids who haven’t seen any of the 80’s films Earth to Echo borrows from, the film might be mildly entertaining. But do them a huge favor and pop in some of those classics.

GRADE: C- (2/5)

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