News

REVIEW: ‘E.T.’ meets ‘Super 8′ in ‘Earth to Echo’

REVIEW: ‘E.T.’ meets ‘Super 8′ in ‘Earth to Echo’

Atmosphere seen at Holly Robinson Peete's Screening of Relativity's "Earth To Echo." Photo: Associated Press/Arnold Turner/Invision for Relativity/HollyRod Foundation

Genre: Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 89 min | Rated: PG
Director: Dave Green | Starring: Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese C. Hartwig

By: George Wolf

Homey, middle class subdivisions. Kids on bikes. Spooky government types with flashlights and potentially evil aims. An adorable extra terrestrial who needs a friend. Lord, that sounds familiar.

E.T. gets a superficial but harmless reboot in Earth to Echo, the tale of three best buds spending their last night together before a neighborhood construction project sends their families in different directions. Rather than waste what little time they have left, they take off on a grand adventure that will test their bonds and see a couple of unpredicted additions to their group of pals.

What the film lacks in originality and depth, it sometimes makes up for with loose energy, naturalistic performances and good humor. Newcomer David Green collects a talented cast of mostly unseasoned youngsters to carry his tale. He curbs sentimentality nicely, and builds a giddy momentum appropriate for a “kids on a secret mission” storyline.

The screenplay by Henry Gayden offers some very humorous lines to a group who works to establish specific, believable characters. Reese Hartwig, in particular, gives the nerdy friend cliché a funny, nuanced turn, but the film boasts impressive performances all around.

Echo, though – the alien at the center of the kids’ adventure – never gets the chance to become a character at all, which seriously diminishes the overall impact of the drama and adventure. It’s one of many underdeveloped plotlines and characters, symptomatic of a storytelling style too slight to fit its content.

No one knows how to dig below the surface – not the director, the writer, or the young cast. As likeable as everything about the film is, it offers such a superficial treatment of the ideas it conveys that it rarely feels like a film. Instead, it presents a workmanlike restringing of dozens of reliable, familiar images and ideas from better films.

Worse still, it distances itself from an honest emotional impact. Yes, Spielberg was heavy-handed with sentimentality. But is there really a need for E.T.- lite?

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Recent Headlines

in Weird

‘Caffeinated’ underwear don’t pack a punch

coffee

Shapewear that promised to help you slim down was a sham.

in Music

Malcolm Young’s nephew to replace him in AC/DC

Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC
Premiere of 'AC/DC - Live at River Plate' at Hammersmith Apollo - Arrivals London, England - 06.05.11

Rockers AC/DC are planning to keep it in the family when it comes to replacing guitarist Malcolm Young in the line-up.

in Music

Jimmy Page wants to form new group

jimmypage

The rocker has given up dreams of reuniting Led Zeppelin and wants to form a new band for a career-spanning tour.

in Weird

Fake cops make off with real pot

FILE - This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. Despite new rules that say only about 140 medical marijuana dispensaries are eligible to stay open, more than 450 have filed renewals to pay Los Angeles business taxes this year.

Three armed men allegedly dressed as police to steal medical marijuana plants from a licensed grower.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Jeff Goldblum’s bizarre ad

13-overlay6

The "Jurassic Park" actor shows you the benefits of mood lighting, wearing nothing but tiny swim trunks and a bad wig.