Saturday, July 5, 2014

Earth to Echo Review

The 1980's were a great time for movies. When you think of 80's movies, one of the first names you will think of is the great Steven Spielberg as he is responsible for multiple classics in that decade that he helped write, direct, and/or produce. Two of these classics include E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, of which he directed, and The Goonies, of which he wrote. Recently there was recently a group of people (Dave Green, Henry Gayden, Andrew Panay) that got together that decided that this upcoming generation needs their own E.T./Goonies movie to love. They apparently didn't want to do an original movie, so they needed to rip off one of these and they also apparently couldn't decide which one to rip off, so they ripped off both. I suppose this could've worked out if done right. It just doesn't.

In Earth to Echo, there is a small group of young friends that are about to be split up because several in the neighborhood are being forced to move for a certain reason. They decide that they need one final adventure together. Several of their phones start going berserk and on one of them they discover this strange static message is actually a map. So they decide that their adventure will be following this map and it leads them right to this adorable little robotic alien that they name Echo. And yes, you guessed it, Echo wants to go home. So these friends go on a fun and sometimes intense adventure trying to help Echo get home. Sound familiar? Yup, this movie is a complete rip-off of E.T. and The Goonies.

As I said, though, this could've worked out. A couple years back there was this movie called Super 8 that did work out. I've gained a reputation as one who hates Super 8, but I really don't. I don't like ending of the movie for various reasons, but the rest was enjoyable. It was about a group of kids on an adventure just like The Goonies. First off, Super 8 worked because it was Steven Spielberg himself that helped work on it. But also, it was an homage to the 80's movies that it emulated and not a complete rip-off. It felt fresh and original. Earth to Echo was done by a no-name director and written by no-name writers and it didn't seem like they had any idea of what they were actually doing and as you are watching, you aren't praising it because it's an homage and you don't feel like it's refreshing. Instead, you are just wondering what in the heck they are doing.

Despite my complaints about this movie being a complete rip-off, there is actually one aspect of this movie that I think is worse. That's the fact that this is done in found footage style. I do want to make it clear that I'm not a hater of the found footage style. If done appropriately, I think it's brilliant. Cloverfield and Chronicle are two movies that are done in that style and both are amazing movies partially because of that style. In fact, if those movies weren't done in found footage, they wouldn't have been as good. Earth to Echo didn't need found footage, though. And when a movie doesn't need to be done in found footage, but is done that way anyways, it completely ruins the movie. This is a classic example. Yes, Earth to Echo was a rip-off of E.T. and The Goonies, and that was disappointing. However, had they shot it normally, it could've been a decently fun movie that was good for kids. It wouldn't have been epic, but it would've been better. As is, though, the found footage made this movie just feel ridiculous.

Overall, I suppose that since I am no longer in the 8-12 year old range, I can't be the best judge of this movie for that age range. Perhaps they will like it. But I just get this feeling that they would find this movie boring. And it's certainly not a movie I would recommend for the smaller kids. If you're looking for a movie to take your kids to, take them to How to Train Your Dragon 2 instead if you haven't already. If you've already seen that, then find a DVD to rent for them. Earth to Echo isn't worth your time. It tries to be the next E.T. or the next Goonies, but it fails. My grade for it is a 6/10.

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