Earth to Echo (2014)

Earth-to-Echo

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
It’s live action?!

Out of all the found footage movies that exist out there, not a whole lot of them are considered kids movies. At most, maybe Super 8, since most of the cast is children. However, that wasn’t really a kids movie…it worked for everyone. Earth to Echo, on the other hand, is totally a family-friendly and kids-oriented film that implements the found footage template to tell its story. Don’t get me wrong though, some kid films are also entertaining for adult audiences, and I actually think that’s true here as well.

Earth to Echo is ultimately about a group of three friends who are more or less outcasts. They are each others friends, and that’s it. When a freeway is bulldozing its way through their home town, each one of them is forced to move and get separated from one another. During the fiasco, everyone in town’s phone goes haywire, so they begin documenting the strange phenomenon to get to the bottom of everything. That’s when they discover a tiny robotic alien creature in the desert that is attempting to rebuild its spacecraft and needs the boys’ help before it can leave. However, a questionable group of “construction workers” continually try to stop their efforts and keep the alien for themselves.

I’m not even ashamed to admit that this film lured me in. Immediately. You really love these characters, they are pretty funny at times, and you feel bad for them because they are forced to leave each others’ sides, and that becomes a serious theme in the film – abandonment and misunderstandings. It actually has some really good, real world points to make about issues that face kids and sometimes parents just don’t understand or recognize the problems. These issues, of course, were blanketed under the fun adventure plot of following a mysterious map and helping Echo, the cute defenseless little alien – but they are there, nonetheless.

What really shocked me for some reason, was that this film was live action, not CGI. Maybe it’s just the fact that I didn’t watch the trailer, but the movie poster appears to be CGI…like Wall-E or something.  It’s not a big let down or anything, I was just surprised once I began watching it…and it was a pleasant surprise. The film simply gets better and better as it moves on – and its ultimately a really fun movie that I would very much recommend for kids.

How is the acting? With any kids movie, you have to ponder if they’ll get the acting right, and for the most part its touch and go here. Some of the acting is great, some of it feels forced. That can’t be helped, but the nice thing about that is the fact that found-footage usually has the ability to make bad acting just look amateur…which contradicts itself to look real. It’s hard to explain – but if I watched Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project without the element of found footage, I think it would suck.

The Good:

Earth to Echo is a kids movie, okay, it’s not a movie for everyone – but even so, it’s done pretty well all around. The found footage feels fresh, the social issues feel real, and friendships all feel perfect. Above all that, I actually believed these actors were filming everything…which I have trouble feeling nowadays for found footage, so that impressed me.

The Bad:

Like I said, the acting isn’t exactly perfect, because its just kids. It’s also not meant for everyone, so not everyone will enjoy it. It also tries a little too hard to be E.T.

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