“Earth to Echo” (Adventure/Family/Sci-Fi: 1 hour, 31 minutes)
Starring: Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley, Teo Halm, and Reese Hartwig
Director: Dave Green
Rated: PG (Violence, moments of peril and mild language)
Movie Review: “Earth to Echo’s” greatest accomplishment is that it allows its actors to act like children. Bradley, Halm and Hartwig appear believable alongside their modern technology. The story does not, even if its target audience is children and tweens.
Tuck Simms (Bradley), Alex Nichols (Halm) and Reginald “Munch” Barrett (Hartwig) are friends around the age of 13. With just two days before the teens move away from each other, they realize they are receiving images on their cellular phones from an unknown Nevada desert source, a region not far from their suburban neighborhood. They ride their bicycles for miles to find the source. They find a mechanical extraterrestrial being. Government officials are also looking for the small being. The three young men and their friend, Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), risk their lives to protect the being they have named Echo until they help him get home.
The story is similar to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (Director Steven Spielberg, 1982), but the two films are different from each other with respect to quality. “E.T.” remains far superior. “Echo” delivers on quantity but fails to be engaging beyond that.
One, the first-person camera angles are annoying. In this measure, actors also act as camera operators, for the cameras become part of the story. The bouncy camera movements are not creative at a certain point. They merely distract from the story.
Second, the life form Echo is not as endearing as ET, because Echo appears more like a machine than a biological organism. Instead, this screenplay makes its focus three young boys. This is also its strong point, but the film drifts away from that occasionally for Echo’s attempt to journey home.
Minus the cellular phones and first-person cinematography, “Echo” is reminiscent of the 1980s films, which features children and teenagers on interesting adventures. Examples of the films of yesteryear are “The Goonies” (1985), “Stand by Me” (1986) and “The Lost Boys” (1987). While “Echo” feels like those films in nature, it only maintains its adventurousness momentarily.
Grade: C+ (It entertains, but producers should not echo this.)
“America” (Documentary: 1 hour, 43 minutes)
Narrator: Dinesh D’Souza
Directors: Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan
Rated: PG-13 (Strong language and violent imagery)