Earth to Echo

 

Walt Disney Studios

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: For some action and peril, and mild language.

 

Plot Summary: Three friends discover a cute and friendly alien who has crash-landed on Earth.

 

PopFam Recommends: Earth to Echo might not be an original idea, but like E.T. it’s uplifting and full of heart. A good choice for families.

 

Kids on bikes. Hiding an alien from adults in an attempt to help the cosmic visitor return to its planet. Sound familiar?

 

Some have likened Earth to Echo as a modern day E.T., and with the similarities in plot and the movie poster (a finger reaching out to touch Echo), it’s clear why these comparisons have been made.

 

While E.T.E. might be reminiscent of E.T., it’s still a heartwarming movie for kids of all ages that touches on themes of friendship and loyalty. Alex (Teo Halm), Munch (Reese Hartwig), and Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley) are 13-year old boys who are certainly not part of the “in” crowd at school, as each has his own idiosyncrasies or baggage he carries. But they have each other, and really that’s enough. Or has been enough. A highway is being built through their neighborhood, and everyone has to move to make way for the new road. Saying good-bye is going to be hard for these boys.

 

Shortly before moving day, all the mobile phones in the area begin “barfing,” which is just the kids way of describing the image that appears on the screen. (It looks to them like the shape of barf). In researching this phenomena, they discover the image resembles the mapping of an area 20 miles away. So on their last night together Alex, Tuck and Munch strap on GoPro’s, take along hand held video cameras, and ride their bikes 20 miles into the desert on their final adventure.

 

Tuck is an amateur videographer, and records everything. This film is shot from the kid’s perspective, and is a bit like the Blair Witch Project (meaning a shaky camera that might make you motion sick). What they find in the desert is the cutest, owl-like alien, who communicates with small chirps. Echo, as they name him, leads the boys on an quest to find the parts he needs to unlock his spaceship. Along the way they are joined by Emma (Ella Wahlestedt), a girl from their school, who helps them in their adventure.

 

Earth to Echo is a mystery that’s perfect for kids to enjoy. It’s really a simple plot that’s easy to follow, but what makes this movie so enjoyable are the characters. They are interesting and are relatable to all ages. Their friendships are the kind we all seek ... loyal, vulnerable, and fun. These kids remind us that a good friend is worth the effort, despite distance or misunderstandings.

 

As the friends pursue their adventure, they are put into situations where they have to do some unethical things. Like breaking into someone’s house and an arcade. They also have to go into a biker bar, where they make a few friends with the patrons. While these aren’t the types of situations we would encourage our kids to enter, they do make a good opportunity for after-show family discussions. All kids are faced with choices ... should I go along with what my friends want me to do? If they are prepared, the decision is always easier.

 

Earth to Echo might not be an original idea, but like E.T. it’s uplifting and full of heart. A good choice for families.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Tell about your best childhood friend. What did you enjoy most about their friendship?

 

• What would you do if a friend needed your help, but it required you to break some rules?

 

• The parents and other adults in the movie appear to be pretty clueless about many details. How would the movie be different if the writer had made the parents more involved and aware?

 

--JW

 

Tags: Earth to Echo, E.T.,ET,Alex,Teo Halm,Munch,Reese Hartwig,Tuck,Brian Astro Bradley,Steven Speilberg

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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