The makers of Earth To Echo certainly seem to like 80s family films, as the movie mixes bits of the likes of ET, Stand By Me and The Goonies with the more modern found footage genre.
Alex, Tuck and Munch are best friends living in a community that’s being forced to move due to a new construction project. It’s their last week together, which takes an unexpected turn after they realise strange electromagnetic anomalies are happening. When they decide to investigate they come across a small, damaged, semi-robotic alien, who needs help to rebuild his spaceship so that he can get home.
Found footage films are dime a dozen nowadays, but there have been relatively few designed for a younger audience. As a result Earth To Echo could have been a bit of a treat, but unfortunately it works better in theory than in practice.
Even if you can look past the usual found footage flaws of it being illogical that absolutely everything is filmed, not enough care has been taken with the story with the result that it’s unevenly paced and while there is some charm and magic, it comes in fits and starts. Indeed it’s all a bit of a shame, as there’s masses of potential here and there are sections that do a great job of capturing the spirit and inspirational tone that family films in the 80s were so good at.
However they’re mixed with bits that are either dull or which don’t really fit with the rest of the film. Likewise the decision to allow the kids room to improvise may help sell the found footage angle but it also tends to slow things down and sometimes seem a bit amateurish. Likewise while there’s definitely effort been put in trying to find an emotional core to the story of the three friends and the alien, it’s not sold all that well.
Overall Verdict: There are some great moments, including a truck that disintegrating and reintegrating and the end is pretty cool too, but while it’s nice to have a homage to 80s family flicks, even in found footage form, this one could have been a lot better.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac