Days before they have to move away forever, a group of young friends go on an amazing adventure.
I’ve talked to a couple of different people about Earth to Echo in the last few weeks and most of them have automatically assumed it’s an animated film about a cute little robot. And that’s pretty understandable, given the prominence of the CG character Echo on the marketing material. But the film is actually a good bit more interesting than that.
It’s a live action tale of three young best friends who are about to be split up forever. The driving force of a highway being built brings to mind The Goonies but it reminded me most of the unfairly forgotten The Explorers. Here, the sci-fi is rarely at the forefront, providing more of a kid friendly adventure.
For once, these youngsters actually read like children. Some of the dialogue is fairly clunky but the language feels like lads coming into their teen years and there’s even the odd curse word for an extra dose of reality.
Earth to Echo is also one of the first movies aimed at this younger generation to be made in the found footage mould. One of the kids has a YouTube channel (the use of new media and social media is quite savvy) and constantly records everything they’re doing, even mounting a GoPro onto his mountain bike. It adds a bit of verve to what would otherwise be a quite staid tale, and the format doesn’t often feel restricted.
Ironically, given his prominence on the poster, Echo himself (itself) doesn’t really have much to do in the film. I can only assume his effects we expensive to produce as he’s only got a handful of scenes and is often relegated to nothing but a POV or even tucked away in a backpack. These brief moments are actually more effective in some ways, recalling movies where effects were used sparingly, and his monumental cuteness makes the most of his screen-time.
There isn’t a lot going on here from a story perspective but the young performers are decent and director David Green does good work with the technical elements – from the CG to the short bursts of action.
Earth to Echo is a watchable little adventure for a younger audience but it’s perfectly palatable for parents too. And Echo is very cute indeed.