Hey there readers! This is Josh with another movie review. I will be taking a look at “Earth to Echo” which Noreen and I saw on release day, July 2nd, 2014. “Earth to Echo” is a sci-fi adventure movie about four friends who find an alien robot and try to help it get home. These four kids set out one night to figure out the weirdness that was going on with everyone’s phones in their neighborhood and to spend one last night together. The entire neighborhood was getting evicted and they wanted to know why. What they found was much more than they bargained for: a little alien robot that they name Echo.
This movie is kinda like the new age “E.T.” A bunch of kids by chance stumble across an alien life form that isn’t going to try and eat or kill them, so they help it out. Echo himself is very different from E.T., though. He is a tiny floating robot with no limbs that has magnetic powers. When they first find Echo, he is in a small case and not awake, but they slowly begin to rebuild this case and bring him back to full “health”, in robot terms anyway. When they realized that Echo understood them, they began to question him a lot. This questioning brought forth a lot of the big themes in this movie, such as abandonment, friendship, helping one another, accepting people no matter how weird they might be, and the big one was you stay with your friends not matter what happens. Now, yes, I know these are a lot of really cheesy happy messages, but it is a kid’s movie, so of course they are going to be cheesy like that. The reason I liked all these themes was because they were done really well. For some reason, using a alien who couldn’t speak and a group of kids that were friends but all odd in their own ways really drove the message home. Echo couldn’t talk to them beyond just beeps, but they all bonded none the less. The talk about abandonment was one particular theme that I thought was really strong. One of the characters was a foster kid, so he was the one who felt the worse about being left behind. He was the one who was most connected with Echo because he could understand being thrown away from home and being in a new and tough situation. Meeting this little alien robot also taught the kids a lot that no matter, where friends are, you can stay connected.
There was one aspect of this movie that was very interesting and unique and it was done well. The entire movie is shot from the perspective of one of the characters like a documentary. The one kid Tuck had a bunch of cameras because he loved uploading to YouTube. They carried all of these cameras throughout the entire movie. This meant that all of the scenes were seen through one of the characters’ eyes. This made the cinematography very interesting to watch. You know it was a pre-shot movie, but it really did feel like a documentary. The most interesting perspective was Echo’s. There were many scenes shot through Echo’s eyes and they made things look interesting. Echo being a robot meant that when you saw things through his eyes, it was “robot visioney.” Yeah, that’s not a word, but I’m making it one. Anyway, the point being is that this was a very nice artistic choice on the director’s part. It gave a feel of intrigue because there were scenes where you couldn’t see certain things or you missed out on some background activity. If they had gone with your usual kind of camera shots, it wouldn’t have had that feel of curiosity or strangeness. The idea is that some kids were discovering a strange robotic life form and they were the ones with the proof. Using regular camera shots would have kinda killed the mood.
So all of the major characters were kids in this movie, so that usually means that they are more simple characters. In this particular movie, I thought the characters were pretty well done for having such young kids as the focus. They are all around the age of 13 or 14, the years when you are just starting to learn where you are going with your life. This movie definitely had that feeling in spades. These kids’ entire lives were going to change and they didn’t know what they were going to do. Then they find this little alien creature that gives them hope, they do something meaningful in their last time all together. Echo gave them a reason to really push to accomplish something, and along the way they learned and grew. Using very young main characters can be a challenge to do well, but I thought this movie handled it pretty well by using Echo as the central thing that changed them
This has been a good amount of praise for this movie, but what about some criticism? Well, I have one major criticism that brought down the quality a bit in my mind. I wanted more of Echo. Echo was a character in the movie and the whole reason for the events that unfolded, but I felt like you didn’t get enough of him. He is this little alien that is shown to have great power over metal at several points in the movie. It is clear he is a highly advanced creature, as he is a small machine with huge power but he also breathes and communicates. I was hoping he would be a character that would interact more with other outside characters, but as it was, he was more of a plot device than a character. I would have liked some back story on Echo, like why he was flying around Earth in the first place or how he had these powers. In addition, they didn’t show him being very influential on anyone but the kids. I get that they wanted to keep him a secret from people, but I think he could have done more. He is a character that faces hardship and has to deal with other characters but I wanted him to do something awesome, like make a giant body for himself out of metal to protect the kids or something. But I guess I’m too big of an action movie fan.
So what is the final say about “Earth to Echo?” I highly recommend it to people who want a good family fun time sort of movie. It has a lot of lessons in it, and really makes some interesting points about people and their friends. It was well written with very good cinematography direction and some good development. Also it was a movie that Noreen said was very “cute.” That isn’t really a selling point for me, but for some people it might be. It is a good movie to watch, but don’t be expecting explosions or violence since it wasn’t directed by Michael Bay…thank god.