Orlando movie goers had a chance to screen the new film Earth to Echo at the Winter Park Regal Theater last night . Most walked away saying they and their families enjoyed the film calling it "family friendly fun with a nice story about friendship". Some more critical audience members cited the films obvious references to films of the past such as ET . Little did they know but this resemblance was put together on purpose.
If you grew up in the 1980's who could have missed the hype and excitement surrounding Steve Spielberg's blockbuster ET or the touching tale of friendship in the Goonies ( Richard Donner ) . So in 2014 it's no surprise this new family friendly alien film draws on inspiration from the classics.
Earth to Echo Producer Andrew Panay says he wanted to "recapture the spirit of 1980s films" that he loved as a child E.T., The Goonies, Stand By Me were movies that in his opinion "managed to conjure the wonder and heartbreak of early adolescence and infuse it with an intoxicating sense of adventure".
However while writing 'Earth to Echo' Panay may have taken his homage to Spieberg a bit too far with many of the older audience members commenting "it's a complete rip-off of ET ". Younger movie goers (pre ET) seemed to be completely enchanted with the film which centers around a closely knit group of friends. The group is about to be split up due their neighborhood being demolished to make way for a new freeway.
The cast includes Brian “Astro” Bradley, as Tuck who is invisible to his family who are more preoccupied with his older brothers accomplishments. But when he's with his friends he is admired and looked up to as the leader of the group. Like most of today's kids he's always got a cell phone or his camera going and posts their every moment on social media. Reese Hartwig as Munch is the brain of the group who is book smart but very naive when it comes to the ways of the world. Last Teo Halm as Alex a lonely, troubled young man who has lived with numerous foster parents, and is not looking forward to loss of an important relationship again. Rounding up the cast is Ella Wahlestedt as Emma the popular girl in school, who the boys refer to as the 'mannequin'. She proves to the boys she is more than just a pretty face.
The close knit group of friends have resigned themselves to the facts of the inevitable move until a mysterious occurrence takes place. Suddenly everyone s cell phones "throw up" at the same time. The kids use all their hi tech savvy on social media and the web to track down where the 'disturbance' is coming from. They take off for the night of their lives, riding their bikes into the desert for miles. When they get to their destination they discover a metallic object that appears to be causing the disturbance. To their surprise the object is alive and from another planet!
There is plenty of excitement in this film with special effects, car chases, alien space ships, and more! Even though it is a rather familiar storyline, Earth to Echo has it's own unique twists and turns. This film is rated PG in the USA, but younger kids will enjoy this movie and parents can take them without much worry about excessive inappropriate language and behavior.
You can see Earth to Echo in theaters starting July 2 !
Check your local theater for showtimes.
* Running time 1 hour and 29 minutes