Earth to Echo (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
Updated: May 5
Earth to Echo
EARTH TO ECHO (2014)
Starring Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese C. Hartwig, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford, Cassius Willis, Drake Kemper, Tiffany Espensen, Mary Pat Gleason, Sonya Leslie, Peter Mackenzie, Valerie Wildman, Virginia Louise Smith, Myk Watford and Algee Smith.
Screenplay by Henry Gayden.
Directed by Dave Green.
Distributed by Relativity Media. 90 minutes. Rated PG.
It is hard to remake a movie that is an acknowledged classic. It is even harder to just try to blatantly rip off the idea behind one. Or several.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of young suburban buddies are riding their bikes and come across a crashed alien spacecraft. They try to shield their new extraterrestrial friend from the suspicious and scary adults trying to find him, all the while helping the cute little creature to build a device to help him go back home.
Earth to Echo is hoping to receive even a tiny percentage of the fan love of Stephen Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial, the film that it is so obviously patterned after, though Earth to Echo also slips in little bits of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies and Stand By Me. It is also filmed in a found-footage style which feels a bit like a middle school version of Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity without the scares. More to the point, it’s got a strong whiff of Super 8.
Of course, if they really wanted the regard that those films received, perhaps they should have just made a better movie.
Instead, it is a childlike and childish adventure about four extremely goofy kids who spend their last night in their hometown trying to protect the odd little space creature that they have found – a creature that looks something like a tiny robot owl.
Sadly, writer Henry Gayden and director Dave Green just do not have a feel for suburban life and kids like Spielberg did back in the day. The parents are obtuse and the kids seem to have learned kid slang in a Robert Rodriguez film. In fact, Earth to Echo felt distinctly like Rodriguez’s horrible, incomprehensible kids film Shorts, yet another flick it seems to have borrowed from.
And the bad guys? Well, they seem to basically be one guy followed around by a convoy of SUVs, and he hardly seems overly threatening.
The film has a very small, intimate vibe that does a good job of not destroying the illusion of found footage. In fact, the only semi-recognizable actors here are Jason Gray-Stanford of Monk as the head bad guy and long-time character actress Mary Pat Gleason in a bit part as a bartender.
In fairness, though, Echo is a rather cute creature. With a little more care, a good film could have been made of his story.
Instead, Earth to Echo caroms from unlikely plot point to unlikely plot point, eventually climaxing with a scene that seems to have been planned to inspire wonder. Instead it feels overwrought and overdone, which in an odd way may be the perfect ending for this film.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 13, 2014.
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