Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Earth to Echo Review - 3 Stars

In “Earth to Echo”—three best friends and a neighborhood girl find a space alien in the desert and go on an adventure to help it “go home.”  Did I say “go home?” or “E.T. , phone home?”  Possibly because the spirit of “E.T.” hovers over this movie as well as bits of other movies including “Wall-E, ” “The Goonies, ” and “Stand by Me.”  But the filmmaker—Dave Green—reinvents these stories for kids who grew up during our time’s high tech revolution.  Their cell phone/computers track the object and follows its wishes with the directions that appear on their cell phone screens.  The kids — Brian Bradley, Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Ella Wahlestedt — act natural and have winning ways.  Brian Bradley narrates and adds fuel to the plot taping this adventure on his various devices.  Teo Halm has smoldering good looks for a kid and adds some drama as a foster child.  Reese Hartwig gets the name Munch and adds humor as the nerdy doughy funny member of the team.  Wahlestedt adds the boy girl element.  The story gets into motion when we learn that the gang will soon go their separate ways because their neighborhood has been condemned for a freeway.  Of course we later learn that scientists want to dig up the area to find the spaceship the story’s alien is seeking.   “Earth to Echo” rises above the derivative plot thanks to good acting and a good cast.  The update for today’s tech savvy kids feels right and the movie has a great naturalness to it.  You and I have seen “E.T.” but the kids who will discover and love this movie haven’t.  I say, let ’em have their fun.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Nice coming of age movie.  Is it entertaining?  Very much.  Is it worth the price of admission?  For a new generation.