Henry Gayden, the scribe responsible for writing Earth to Echo, must be in love with ‘80s era films. In his big screen effort, he cribs from two of the most beloved from the early ‘80s in this film that opens Wednesday (July 2).
Earth to Echo borrows liberally from Goonies, a movie that received lukewarm critical notices but morphed into a classic anyway, and Steven Spielberg’s E.T., a movie that captured reviewers and audiences from the moment that clammy skinned creature muttered the name “Elliot.”
It’s not the first time someone borrowed from Spielberg. J.J. Abrams played nearly every Spielbergian note to perfection in Super 8 several years back.
But Gayden and first-time director Dave Green don’t possess Spielberg’s cred – yet. However, Earth to Echo represents a promising start.
The duo show that they possess that feeling of child-like wonder of life, friendship and what it means to grow up.
Three buddies Tuck (Astro), Alex (Teo Halm) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) are faced with a traumatic issue in their young lives – they’re being separated because a highway is being built where their family’s homes now sit.
But a problem with all their cell phones sends them on one last adventure. They dedicate their last night together to trying to finding the source of their problem. They do in the form of a mechanical alien they name Echo. The little bugger is looking for his ship and a way home.
Of course things aren’t going to be simple for him and his new friends as they soon find that government agents track them down.
At its core, Earth to Echo is a fun summer movie. Don’t think too hard about it and just enjoy the ride.
Green films it as if it’s a home video at least giving it a feel of reality. The performances aren’t obnoxious and can be endearing at times.
In short: it’s the perfect film for children, including teens.
Movie: Earth to Echo
Director: Dave Green
Cast: Astro, Teo Halm and Reese Hartwig
Studio: Relativity Media
Rated: PG for some action and peril and mild language
Running time: 89 minutes
George’s rating: 3-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com