Wearing its influences loudly and proudly, Earth to Echo is a modern day tribute to iconic family-fare such as The Goonies and E.T. The film takes place the day before their Nevada neighbourhood is due to be torn down to make way for a freeway, with three school friends spending their last evening together.
Following an electronic map that’s being beamed to their phones, what they find is an extra-terrestrial life form, shot down and stranded on earth. Together, in a race against time, the group of friends must find a way to get this being (Echo) back home, before it’s captured by shady government officials.
Capturing the sense of adventure from the aforementioned films, Earth to Echo is an admirable attempt at updating a classic formula. Using a found footage style, old pirate maps and communication machines made from old coat hangers are replaced by state of the art technology and YouTube.
iPhones and Google Glass are used to portray the action, creating a ‘hip’ and recognisable world for a younger generation as well as being simple product placement.
The found footage aspect does add an interesting slant to the film, but it would work just as well without; the handheld style does become a bit tiresome after a while. It’s in the writing that the film really exceeds, with a script that has great values and the theme of friendship at its core.
Having said this, I must confess that as much as I wanted it to, Earth to Echo failed to draw out an emotional response from me. Though, in its defence, it would take a lot to beat E.T’s sucker punch ending that still makes me shed a tear.
That’s what hinders Earth to Echo in a way. Despite being well made and perfectly passable entertainment, it fails in having any real impact. Far from terrible but equally as forgettable, it’s middle of the road film making. There’s a lot for the whole family to enjoy but not enough to elevate it to classic status.
Image credit to http://www.schmoesknow.com