Dud of an Echo
Earning the frontrunner spot as the summer’s “Most Annoying Film” is “Earth to Echo” a family film about three pre-adolescent boys who find a tiny electro-mechanical alien and must go to great lengths to protect him and help him return home safely.
If the movie was fun, creative, had great special effects and pulled at your heartstrings with convincing moments of sentimentality and genuine humor it might be considered a welcomed homage to the classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” But since “Earth to Echo” is more annoying than enjoying, it feels like a shameless rip-off of the classic Spielberg adventure.
The film’s most egregious element is its hand-held camera “found footage” structure which can work in small doses (“Cloverfield,” “Chronicle”) but here gives new meaning to “nausea-inducing.” Perhaps younger folks will tolerate the seemingly A.D.D. fueled frenetic editing but it’s hard to imagine adults not reaching for Advil after about 15 minutes.
The young actors Ted Helm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese Hartwig, and Ella Wahlestedt are cute and energetic but are given dialogue that neither reveals their personalities nor helps the audience really bond with them. The narrative is reduced primarily to repetitive exclamations (“That’s insane!”). There simply aren’t enough quiet moments to see the boys bond over their circumstance as the film is really a wild goose-chase with a predictable outcome. There are exactly two big CGI sequences (one of which is depicted in the film’s trailer), very disappointing for a film with a science-fiction angle.
Even the supposed villains here – a construction company that is displacing an entire suburban neighborhood under the guise of highway project is completely non-threatening.
“Earth to echo” might have aspired to be an homage to the classic extraterrestrial-centered family adventures of the past, but sad to say it is not even this generation’s “Short Circuit.” Families deserve much better entertainment at the movie theater, summer or otherwise.
Rated PG for some action and peril, language