Earth to Echo is a movie that has inherently been done before. Director Dave Green has brought the films of the 80’s, which I grew up on, into the technological age that today’s early teens are growing up in.
When I first saw the trailer, the comparisons with E.T, The Goonies, Super 8 and Chronicle/Cloverfield were very apparent. After seeing the movie, these comparisons are still very apparent. But this is not necessarily a terrible thing – all the aforementioned movies are very good, some absolute classics.
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Earth to Echo is a story about friendship, first and foremost. There also happens to be an adorable alien, which resembles a mechanical baby owl. Shot in a POV style, we are taken on a journey, through the eyes of three best friends on their last night together. They are being forced to move apart due to the demolition of their ticky-tacky suburbia homes in the heart of Nevada. Their homes are in the way of a new super-highway and when the boy’s phones start “barfing” cryptic messages they begin to wonder if the construction workers are all that they make themselves out to be.
Following the maps on their phones the three friends set off on a life changing night of adventure, one last hurrah as a group. When they come across a strange metallic pod in the middle of the desert the adventure really begins. They find the pod incases a scared and hurt robotic alien who just wants to go home and he needs the help of his discoverers. They are all he’s got in this world and it rings true with the friends themselves, they will soon be torn apart from each other but they can do this one last act together.
As a group of friends they are believable; outsiders in their own ways, “nobodies, invisible, the good kids”. Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley) is the videographer and YouTube junkie, Munch (Reece Hartwig) is a timid tech-geek and Alex (Teo Halm) is an indie foster kid. The acting from the three is very natural and at 17,15 and 15 respectively, their performances are very promising.
On his feature directorial debut Dave Green does not push the boat out but he does give us a lovely piece of ‘coming-of-age’ cinema. The CGI is well used and looks great. The character of Echo will surely be a big hit with the kids and I even found myself cooing a little when he looks up at the screen with those big blue eyes.
I could easily write off Earth to Echo as a throwback movie or a homage to the great coming of age movies that came before but Green has brought a piece of cinema that I think will be important to a certain age group. How many 12 year olds have actually seen E.T (1982), or The Goonies (1985) or were perhaps too young to see the possibly too scary Super 8 and Chronicle?
If I was 12 years of age, watching this movie, with no knowledge of the fine cinematic pieces previously mentioned I would love this film.
If you were born pre-1990, this film will not be anything new to you, but if you want a family fun movie for the summer to bring your kids or younger siblings to, this film is definitely worth the watch.