Earth to Echo is the story of 3 friends in Nevada that discover something ‘out-of-this-world’ in the desert. Along the way, they befriend the popular girl in school and make friends with a small alien, that they have dubbed Echo. It is an enjoyable film that sets itself apart by being totally family friendly. While there is action, it at no time puts the kids in any real danger. The story is well-written although the dialogue seems a bit like an adult trying to sound like a 12 year old. The movie is filmed as if it is ‘found footage,’ although since one of the main characters, Tuck (played by Astro…yep that is his stage name), documents his life and puts it on the internet, it comes across as a long YouTube video. This leads to my main problem with this movie.
The ‘found-footage’ style of film-making can often get in the way of a good story. In my opinion this happens here. I feel that if this were more of a linear story filmed more traditionally, the story could be told in a more direct manner. It could also be that this style of film-making is over-used in the sci-fi and horror genre. This is one of the first family films that uses it though.
As stated, this is an enjoyable movie but not a great one. It does have moments of greatness, but those are mostly when it makes you think of other movies that have done the same thing but did it better. The most notable of these is E.T., the story of some kids that find an alien, protect him from the government, and help him get home…which is the exact plot of Earth to Echo. (The movies poster directly conjures up an iconic scene from E.T.) The movie also at times is reminiscent of Super 8, The Goonies, and Explorers. (Those four movies were made by Spielberg, Abrams, Donner, and Dante. If you are going to borrow ideas from a group of people, this is the group to borrow from.)
Earth to Echo is rated PG for action and some language. Exactly what the language was that got the PG rating, I am not sure. There is some talk of one of the kid’s being a foster child and this could be a difficult subject to discuss with some younger children. The kids also lie to their parents and go gallivanting off across Nevada so that could be a point of contention as well.
On a sliding scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best, I would give this movie a solid 3 and a half to this solid family-friendly film.