Starring: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford
Directed by: Dave Green
Synopsis: After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.
Many, many films are derivative. Just as many films try and hark back to the seventies and eighties heyday of Steven Spielberg. For instance, JJ Abrahms movie “Super 8” from a couple of years back. The problem that these films have is that Steven Spielberg isn’t directing them. Earth To Echo takes it one step further and tries to incorporate a few eighties movie into one, and it’s worse than all of them.
First off we have The Goonies. Right off the bat we find out that the kids in this movie are being uprooted from their town because of a new road being built through it. Following some strange activity on their phones they decide to go on an adventure on their last night together. Ring any bells? “It’s our time down here” and all that.
Then it quickly turns into ET as the boys discover an alien/robot kind of thing, more similar to Wall-E than ET though to be fair. As they try to get to know him it smacks of Gizmo the Mogwai meeting Billy on Gremlins. So that’s three films already that Earth To Echo is trying to imitate. Throw in the other classic eighties staples like isolated, bullied kids, BMX’s and divorced parents and you can see what kind of films the makers liked when they were growing up. Except, because this is the modern age of course this had to be a found footage movie, which means it has none of the emotional depth, intelligence and like-ability of the films it craves to be. The kids are all fairly annoying if I’m honest, there are no ‘Elliott’s’, no ‘Chunk’s’ (although one character is called ‘Munch’ in yet another ‘homage’ I guess.
This really is the most derivative movie I have seen in a long time and not in a good way. Some would say it’s nice to revisit the old classics, and that, if anything, it is showing kids of today what movies used to be like. In that case, just make them watch E.T. and The Goonies, or Batteries Not Included or Stand By Me. Whilst all of these films have lived on for generations and generations, and will continue to do so, Earth To Echo will sadly be forgotten within days of watching it.
I feel kind of bad for giving so much stick to this film, after all, it’s intentions were good and it’s fairly harmless, but it just go to highlight, by wanting to be like all those iconic films of yesterday, that it really is just horribly average. Maybe the younger audience will get something out of it, but those of a certain age will probably left reaching for the E.T. DVD instead.