Earth to Echo Review
When I sat down to watch "Earth to Echo" tonight, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. What I didn't expect, was to be lampooned by an engaging story about friendship.
"Earth to Echo" does revolve around three best friends helping an alien get home. That is a story that is as old as time. We have seen in "E.T." and we saw it only a few years ago in "Super 8." If "Earth to Echo" was just going to be another young-people-help-alien-get-home movie, I am not sure if I would have liked it. I know each of the films I listed above revolve around unrelenting friendship in the heart of saving an alien. But I feel "Earth to Echo" approaches friendship in a very unique way. This is a movie about three closely-nit friends. They are Munch (Reese C. Hartwig), Alex (Teo Halm), and Tuck (Astro). Munch and Alex are getting ready to move after spending their entire lives being friends with Tuck, due to a new expressway being built in their neighborhood. Tuck is really feeling an empty void of his life if his friends move away, and he wants to spend one last night with them.
This is all while their cellphones all of sudden begin to break down. The trio soon realizes that their phones are showing a map of some kind, and these friends are determined to find out where this map leads...and they find an alien. They quickly realize that this alien wants to go home and that he is being chased by the government. Yes, like I said, this is a story we have heard a zillion times before. But what made "Earth to Echo" standout so much in my mind is this film executed its ideas.
I never had a best friend who lived just down the street, so I have no idea what it feels like to grow up with a best friend so close, but I also have no idea how bad it would hurt if that friend moved away. The trio doesn't just follow this map out of sheer curiosity, but because they see this event as their last big night together. They need to do something new, they need to do something fresh, they need to do something that they will all remember forever. They sneak away from their homes in order to follow this map. Which is something I definitely identify with. I think many can identify with that one point when you were all very young, and the first night you decided to sneak out at night, or do something you know you weren't supposed to do. I used to sneak out of my house and go do something fun with friends when I was in high school, and I never once got caught. I could definitely relate to these characters and I was feeling plenty nostalgic because of it.
I think the audience can feel all of these emotions because the work done by Hartwig, Halm and Astro is so believable, so human and so raw that we feel every bit of their emotional journey. These are wonderful young actors, and I hope I get to see more of each and every one of them soon. Between the three of them, they create a believable friendship and we definitely feel like these kids have been friends forever.
I liked this movie more so than I thought I would. I was engaged on this adventure from minute one to the final frame of the film. The acting is all spot-on from start to finish, and the special effects work is at least believable to the point of being entertaining. While "Earth to Echo" may dabble in material we have seen before, it does so in a unique and powerful way.
FINAL GRADE: B