TEO HALM ASTRO REESE HARTWIG
Earth to ECHO
Hollywood has decided to remake 80’s classic E.T. under a different name. So maybe it’s not a remake, but it’s certainly hoping to offer the same experience to a new generation. Perhaps it will, but Earth to Echo has little to none of the elements that made Spielberg’s E.T. the classic it is today. Earth to Echo is a bit more like the Spielberg produced (JJ Abrams directed) Super 8 involving a group of young kids. However, that film has danger, death and a real sense of peril while the scariest thing here are pre-teens behind the wheel. Short film director David Green and the studio make sure this film errs on the side of cute more than it does suspense or excitement.
When an entire Nevada neighborhood is being forced to leave due to new road construction, three friends set out to do something about it. What they discover isn’t a plan for a new freeway but something from deep space, and those men in hard hats are not carving new roads. Alex (Halm), Tuck (Astro) and Munch (Hartwig) lie to their parents and bike 17 miles away from home in the middle of the desert and discover a device that encompasses an electronic extraterrestrial they name Echo because of the beeping sounds be makes using their cell phones. They begin an attempt to protect him and get him back to his ship before the men in hard hats silence him forever.
X-Factor contestant Astro (his real name is Brian Bradley) narrates the film and holds the first person point of view for much of the story (yes, nearly the entire thing is handheld, do you remember the shaky adventure Super 8 presented?). He says things like “let me get this straight” and really never stops talking throughout the film, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, due to his lack of acting experience. The entire cast is pretty green, with Halm getting most of the good lines since he is the one who identifies with Echo and has the emotional attachment.
Unless you are under 13 years old, Earth to Echo doesn’t have much to offer. It’s a Hardy Boys type adventure with supernatural elements and what looks like a Ferbie inspired alien. At one point Munch describes the events they are witnessing like this: “scary as balls." So you can just imagine what the screenplay sounds like. However, for the generation who has to grow up a little bit early in order to enjoy what comic book films have turned into (the darker Batman, Superman and X-Men), Earth to Echo might be the best alternative with the lessons in friendship, not leaving someone behind and standing up for each other.
Final Thought – E.T. for a cell phone obsessed generation.
By: Dustin Chase