July 4, 2014
Reese Hartwig, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Teo Halm
Walt Disney Pictures
More on this movie at IMDb.com
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CHRISTIAN MOVIE REVIEW
Review: Earth to Echo
- Earth to Echo is a rousing science fiction tale of three 13-year-old friends who chase after mysterious signals from an alien. They hope that saving the alien can also save their neighborhood from demolition. Earth to Echo has a strong moral worldview and is solid entertainment for older children, with a caution for some peril that might frighten younger viewers.
The story follows three boys who have been best friends since their earliest childhood days: Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), Munch (Reese Hartwig) and Alex (Teo Halm). They try to have one last adventure together before each of their families has to move under government orders so that a highway can be built through their neighborhood. Just as they’re trying to figure out what last-ditch effort can save their homes, each of their cell-phones starts getting mysterious images onscreen that turn out to be maps.
Figuring that they’re being called out to the desert 20 miles away, they decide to tell their parents that they’re having a last-ever sleepover party and instead ride their bikes into the great unknown. When they finally find the spot, they find plenty of men in the distance with flashlights and wind up discovering a huge construction site lit up in the middle of the vast desert expanse.
They also find a little robot-like alien they name Echo. They soon realize that the mystery men are government officials out to capture, examine and likely kill the creature. Thus, the heroic trio decides to make a break for it with the alien and see if they can figure out how to get him home.
This may sound like a rip-off of E.T. or The Goonies, and the climax is too close to Super 8 for its own good. Somehow, however, director Dave Green and writer Henry Gayden manage to make Earth to Echo a winner on its own terms. First, the young leads are excellent, genuinely looking and sounding like real, decent young boys that are all too rarely found in movies and TV these days.
While they do lie to make their getaways from home, they don’t seek out any bigger trouble in the form of smoking, drugs, alcohol, or sex. They wind up learning that even though they’re young, they’re not powerless to challenge officials with bad intentions. They also learn that saving lives is almost always paramount to other forces and situations. The children all seem like good people at heart, desperate to do the right thing.
The filmmakers tell the whole story through the viewpoint of the children using constantly moving cameras that they wear even while riding bikes and running. The result is a constantly engaging visual sense that amps up the tension. As a result, Earth to Echo isn’t too scary for older children but is strong enough to put teenagers and adults on the edge of their seats.
With excitement, some humor and a solid core of moral values where the young heroes risk their capture and possibly their lives to save their alien friend, Earth to Echo is rousing and fun entertainment for the whole family. Caution is advised for younger children, however, especially those who might find parts of the movie too scary.
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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