Title: Earth To Echo
Director: Dave Green
Starring: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford.
If E.T. were to be narrated today, ‘Earth To Echo,’ would definitely not do it justice. Dave Green’s flick mishmashes classics of sci-fi with more recent youth movies, such as ‘Super 8’ and ‘Stand By Me,’ to explore the theme of friendship and xenophobia.
The story that “echoes” Spielberg’s great extraterrestrial films, narrates the “close encounters of the third kind,” of a bunch of youngsters who stumble upon the tech-version of a cute complaisant alien. The juveniles receive a bizarre series of encrypted messages and decide to embark on an adventure with the extraterrestrial who needs their help.
Tuck, Munch and Alex are a trio of inseparable friends whose lives are about to change: their neighbourhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they team up with another school friend, Emma, and set out to look for the source of their phone signals. What they discover is something beyond their wildest imaginations: a small alien who has become stranded on Earth, that they name ‘Echo’ because of the cellular-signals that are reverberated by the Martian.
Not only is the storyline a copycat of many others we’ve seen, but so is the depiction of our tiny visitor from out of space: the robot baby owl recalls the same bird from ‘Clash of the Titans’ and has Wall-E’s eyes!
Besides the disengaging plot, the most disturbing trait of ‘Earth To Echo’ is the use of the handheld videocamera. The entire story is told through one of the young boy’s camera, who is obsessed with making YouTube videos and is determined to chronicle all of Echo’s adventures. The outcome of the entire narration is a sea-sickening ‘Blair Witch’-‘Paranormal’ shaky-cam package.
First-time director Dave Green gets the swing with some remarkable special effects, but the derivative script by Henry Gayden and Andrew Panay isn’t winsome. Despite the actors playing the tweenage pals are very dignified, the only memorable echo of the movie, is that of the predecessors that inspired it.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi