Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford
Director: Dave Green
Release Date: 2 July 2014
Length: 91 minutes
Movie Rating: PG
View Format: DVD
“ When a construction project begins in their neighborhood, four friends (Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt) start receiving bizarre encoded text messages on their cell phones. Setting out to find the origin of the texts, the group stumbles on an astonishing answer. ” — Netflix.com
I was disappointed with this movie. I thought the previews looked like fun and was expecting an action-packed sci-fi adventure only to find a amateurish, unfulfilling mess. Echo is a cute little alien who ends up stranded on Earth and needs help repairing his ship to go home. He communicates through our cell phone technology. For some reason, he targets three friends (Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig) in a neighborhood that has been taken over by eminent domain to make room for a government project. I was expecting the movie to take off from there and be a rip-roaring Goonies-like adventure with an alien thrown in or maybe an intense alien thriller with child stars like Super 8, but I felt like I was watching someone’s home movie instead. The camera was really shaky. I know that it was supposed to make us feel like we were part of the action, but I still think it is an unprofessional choice for a major motion picture. If you are a brand new filmmaker and making your first movie, maybe I will give it to you, but Earth to Echo was released by Disney and I am used to a higher quality product.
The CGI on Echo was good, when he was shown, which was infrequent. The child actors did a fine job, but I hated the ending and felt like the whole movie was pointless. Ella Wahlestedt is thrown in the mix as a the token hot girl whom one of the boys like and this opened up the action to some more mature content than I was expecting. The kids are hanging out in bars and the action took us to some teen parties with drinking and making out. I was a bit surprised as I thought that the movie was targeted to preteens as a sci-fi action thriller just for their age group. It would have been a stronger film if they focused on the group being split up, but getting together to help Echo, which someone changed their situation.
I watched this movie at home with my sister, her husband and their five children. While I did not care for the movie and would have returned it mostly unwatched, the rest of the group was much more interested and watched the whole movie without interruption. The children, in particular, seemed riveted on the movie so maybe I am being too harsh. This might be a case of the movie really hitting its target demographic as my nieces and nephews are 12, 11, 10, 9 and 4 and they seemed to enjoy the whole movie. If you have children at home, they may enjoy this movie, but I feel that there are many better movies out there to watch with your children.
This movie contains some scenes of drinking, smoking, and underage partying with teenagers drinking and making out. The kids break a lot of laws to help Echo, lie to their parents and are running around at night to try to get Echo’s ship repaired. Recommended for ages 8 and up.