Review by Tres
Summertime movies for me often reflect the age of my children. This review is one such movie.
I recently took my youngest two to see the movie Earth to Echo.
The majority of the movie is with young actors and an actress.
Astro Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), Teo Halm (Alex),
Reese Hartwig (Munch) and Ella Wahlestedt (Emma)
The main 3 in the movie are the boys: Alex, Astro, and Munch. The government is forcing their entire neighborhood to sell their homes in order to make a highway. There’s something about the digging that has caused their phones to “vomit”: a static image frozen on their screens.
The boys come together to visit for one last time before moving when they examine the phone message and figure out that what they are receiving is a map. What else are 3 boys supposed to do? They decide to go on an all night bike journey to follow the map.
Their journey takes them to a main piece in the desert. Fits in two hands. A piece of dusty and dirty junk. They go ahead and put it in Munch’s backpack and head out… until the bag moves! They take off with it to a local barn that they find and they discover… an alien.
The alien is weak and tries to communicate with the boys with blinks, flashes, and by using one of their phones to see. Once they learn to communicate they discover that “Echo”, as they name him, is searching for pieces from his ship. Therefore, the rest of the evening is for them to seek and find pieces to help Echo.
As they go from place to place, new pieces are picked up. This leads into troublesome situations, such as breaking an entry. One such situation is breaking into the home of a female schoolmate; Emma. In Emma’s home they discover another piece, but it leads to a torn up room for Emma as the piece goes flying around and ricochets off of everything until it attaches to Echo. The team of three, despite the boys’ efforts, quickly becomes a team of 4.
Many adventures happen in their night journey, including the contact with adults also searching for Echo and his ship. The government is positive that the alien desires to use his ship to blow up the Earth, or attack it, or at least destroy cities for sure.
It doesn’t take much before the government captures Echo and Munch. They decide to dissect Echo and seek out his ship. Then a rescue mission is underway with the other 3 charging into harm’s way.
Now, being the movie buff that I am I saw many connections back to my 11 year-old summer with a blockbuster of a movie called E.T.
The poster: check.
The alien with big eyes and glowing chest: check.
The gang of kids: check.
The government trying to take them: check.
Riding on bikes: check.
Happy ending: check.
A LOT OF SIMILARITIES!
Now, there has been some bashing by bloggers and critics on the mimicking/duplicating/”stealing” of the E.T. story line. However, I don’t usually mind similarities in movies. I just don’t like duplication. There is enough in Echo that is different from E.T. that this makes a different movie and an enjoyable one. Can you watch it and not make connections to its predecessor? Sure you can. Can you watch it and enjoy it for what it is? Sure you can.
Those who are critical of movies with similar ideas, I caution against judging in this way. With movies having been around for over 100 years, new concepts are few and far between.
Mimicking… or echoing… (See what I did there?)… is actually the greatest form of flattery that a person can give another. We are to do this as Christians. Jesus says in Matt 16:24 to his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Earlier in Matt 11:29&30 Jesus told them to “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We are to mimic Jesus in our efforts and in our lives and to do our best to be like him.
WARNING: The movie was filmed in 3 different camera “styles”: hand held, bike mounted, and phone. There’s a lot of motion and bouncing around. It’s one of the only times I was glad my wife was not with me for a movie. She suffers from motion sickness and she would have really struggled with the way this was filmed. My buddy, founder, and co-writer Gene had to discover this for himself.
This is a fun and entertaining movie. In the words of my children, “That was AAAAWWWEEESOME!!!!!”
For me, I rank this as a 4 out of 5.
It’s not a perfect movie; however there really isn’t much I would change about it either. It’s a nice and solid family movie.
I’ll have it in my movie library when it is released on video.