EARTH TO ECHO MOVIE REVIEW
– OPENS ON JULY 2 –
“E.T. phone home.” Do you remember this phrase? I do.
In fact, I remember the exact moment in the movie when Elliott opened his closet door and E.T. melted the hearts of millions. If you remember the phrase “E.T. phone home” then you were raised in the ’80s.
A similar movie to E.T. called Earth to Echo is set to be released nationwide on July 2.
Earth to Echo is a modern day science-fiction adventure that captures the mystery, excitement and wonder of an extraterrestrial occurrence in a small Nevada suburb.
Last Thursday, I was invited by Relativity Media to a special screening of the movie at the TCL Chinese Theaters (Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) in Hollywood.
Since my two children were too young to see the movie, I took my 16-year-old sister-n-law instead. We like to call her Field Trip Auntie.
Before the screening, Field Trip Auntie and I got to see the unveiling of an Earth to Echo jelly bean poster at Hollywood’s Sweet! Store located in the Hollywood and Highland shopping center, right next to the theaters. We also received a complimentary chocolate bar made out of marshmallows. Yummy!Earth To Echo tells the story of three boys – Tuck, Alex and Munch – who are best friends and struggle with being outcasts amongst their peers and family.
In Earth to Echo, Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), the charismatic and extroverted leader of the trio, is cast aside by his family as they worship his more conventional older brother. Tuck goes against the status quo and takes to the internet to get the attention that he seeks.
He’s also the entrepreneurial film maker of the group and encourages his friends to chase after pings from cell phone towers in the middle of the night.
Alex (Teo Halm), the next character in the movie, was orphaned as a child and went through a series of living with five different foster families. More than anything, Alex wants stability. He is also the quietest member of the group and ruminates about everything.
The shyest, yet funniest boy of the bunch, is Munch (Reese Hartwig). Munch is an extremely cautious eccentric who provides much of the movie’s comic relief. He likes to hoard everything in sight as a way to protect himself from the outside world. He is also the impromptu guardian of the group, but fails often at it. He is my favorite character in the movie.
In the movie, the kid’s neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project. The project then forces the families to pack up and move out.
The boys become distraught after hearing the news and decide to plan one last big hooray together – a journey into the desert to search for the source of strange and mysterious messages that have appeared on their cell phones.
When speaking about the film, Director David Green, said “There’s something bittersweet about the fact they’re spending their last night together. But is goodbye really goodbye? In our movie, it’s not. It’s a beginning.”
While searching in the desert, the trio then discovers the true reason behind the cryptic messages on their phones – Echo!
Echo is a small, owl-like creature that causes havoc in the neighborhood when he attempts to find his way home to outer space.
Echo is a digitally animated alien originally designed by Ross Tran. In a movie where the story is constructed by a group of kids, it was only fitting that a 19-year-old designer from Santa Cruz, California would help to create the most crucial piece to the puzzle: the alien itself.
The final character to join the search and rescue team to return Echo to his home is Emma (Ella Wahlestedt). Emma is the boys’ more popular classmate and soon becomes indispensable to the boys’ mission. On more than one occasion, she saves the boys from danger.
Earth to Echo is 100% kid centric. Every scene, every moment, every encounter is driven from a kid’s point of view.
Yet this is exactly what David Green wanted when he directed the film. Green said “Kids today are doing a lot of their own filming and they’re videotaping and Vine-ing. There are all these different social media outlets and ways of communicating which comes down to turning the camera around and shooting yourself and sending it off. It just makes sense.” I agree with him.
Earth to Echo is the brain child of producer Andrew Panay. In Earth to Echo, Panay wanted to recapture the spirit of movies such as E.T., The Goonies and Stand By Me, that managed to blend the wonder and heartbreak of early adolescence with an intoxicating sense of adventure. After watching the movie, I would say job well done.
In my opinion, Earth to Echo is a fun and uplifting film appropriate for families with children ages 8+.
Field Trip Auntie summarized it best – “My favorite part of the movie was when they met Echo for the first time. He was unique and so adorable.”
Now doesn’t that sound like a quote from the 1980’s film E.T. to you?
Earth to Echo is rated PG and is in theaters on July 2.
To take a sneak peek, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMlcdEtAiBA
Happy Field Tripping,