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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Earth to Echo movie review: not good enough for me

Earth to Echo yellow light

An inoffensive time-passer for youngsters, but adult genre fans who recall the 80s classics it draws on — E.T. and The Goonies — will be bored.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Well, for one, the title makes no sense. Earth to Echo might be the thing to call a sequel to this rather shameless mashup of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and The Goonies, but it refers to absolutely nothing here that we can see. Three tween pals in Nevada — Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), and Chunk Munch (Reese Hartwig) — set off on a mysterious treasure hunt directed by strange maps that appear on their cell phones and discover a tiny alien robot-creature they dub Echo (for how it echoes their voices) who needs their help to reassemble some sort of device so it can, presumably, get off the planet and get home. Echo might be calling out to Earth for help, but the reverse isn’t happening… though I suspect the title is echoing, consciously or not, E.T.’s “Phone home,” as is the enigmatic and rather menacing man (Jason Gray-Stanford: Flags of Our Fathers) chasing the boys around who seems to know about their new secret friend. The thin plot makes little attempt to string together its many elements in plausible ways; how a token girl, Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), is shoved into the story is almost embarrassing; the found-footage conceit strains credulity; and the big thing hanging over the boys’ heads, that their neighborhood is about to be demolished to make way for a superhighway, ends up not making much sense in the end, because it indicates that the adults aren’t the clueless dolts the story needs them to be in order for the kids to have had their adventure in the first place. This is an inoffensive time-passer for youngsters, but adult genre fans who recall the 80s classics it draws on will be bored. And, in fact, there’s no reason why little kids wouldn’t be better off passing the time with E.T. and The Goonies, either.

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Earth to Echo (2014)
US/Can release: Jul 02 2014
UK/Ire release: Jul 25 2014

MPAA: rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
BBFC: rated PG (mild bad language, threat)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • The designer of the soundtrack art clearly knows this owes more than a little to *ET.*

  • RogerBW

    One thing I’ve picked up from discussion elsewhere is that this alien can’t effectively communicate with its rescuers. So that’s another layer of possible interest stripped off and thrown away.

  • Right. The alien can basically only answer Yes or No, which requires that the kids come up with the right questions. Which of course they do, and no misunderstandings at all come into play. *facepalm*

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I sat through this entire movie on Sunday night, and all I can recall about it is wanting to slap the smug look off of Teo Halm’s face to give him something to cry about. (Yes the movie bored me to the point of contemplating child abuse. FML) Granted, I was watching it as the second film in a drive in theater double bill that also had me sitting through Planes 2*, while my 5 year old decided she needed to use the restroom 5 times in 87 minutes.

    * which was, well, about as good as the first Cars. A low bar, to be sure, but since the first Planes was almost as bad (though not as offensive) as Cars 2, that represented a marked improvement.

  • I am not even bothering with *Planes 2.* The first one hurt so bad.

  • Beowulf

    No lion?
    “You could do better.” MaryAnn Johanson, The Flick Filosopher.

  • DAL

    Really….. Let’s look at E.T. an alien gets stranded here by his species and has to call them to come get him. Goonies, a bunch of kids save their neighborhood by finding lost treasure. In this movie the spaceship crashed long before the houses came and echo came to find the ship. The communication is simple 1 for yes 2 for no. Pretty easy for anyone to follow. You obviously did not watch the movie. I do not doubt that you sat through it. You cannot compare movies to other movies and expect them to stand out on their own,. You need to judge each movie on its own merits. I guess as long as there are idiots listening to assholes like you no movie will make money. I can take any movie that comes out and compare the likeness to a previously made movie. Since we know that hollywood has long since run out of original ideas for movies, what is the point in going to the movies anymore?

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