Earth to Echo Review
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Back in the ‘80s, before the days when a new computer-animated movie hit theaters every couple of weeks, there were more live-action kids’ adventures—movies like Gremlins and The Goonies. These days, movies like that are few and far between. But, every once in a while, something like Earth to Echo comes along to play on parents’ sense of nostalgia while igniting kids’ imagination.

Earth to Echo follows along on an otherworldly adventure with a tight-knit group of friends. With their neighborhood being evacuated to make way for a new freeway, Tuck (Astro), Alex (Teo Halm), and Munch (Reese Hartwig) are getting ready to say goodbye to their best friends.

During their last week in their old neighborhood, something strange happens: all of the cell phones in the area stop working. And when the boys figure out that the phones are displaying a map of the nearby desert, they decide to spend their last night together investigating, only to discover a small alien being who needs their help.

The Goonies meets E. T. in this fun-filled, family-friendly adventure. Action-packed and suspenseful—with just the right touches of heart and humor—it’s both a cute story about childhood friendships and an exciting (and sometimes scary) story about a bunch of regular kids who are able to defy the odds (and outsmart grown-ups) to help a creature in need.

Granted, the story isn’t without its flaws and plot holes—and the film isn’t necessarily destined to become a family classic. But the lovable characters and their imaginative story will inspire and thrill kids while bringing back memories for their parents. From swaggering instigator Tuck to geeky, obsessive-compulsive Munch, these may be characters that we’ve seen before, but they’re just as charming as ever—and kids and parents alike will enjoy following along on their out-of-this-world adventures.

Unfortunately, though, the film has one big, glaring problem: its shaky found footage format. There’s absolutely no reason for Earth to Echo to be a found footage film—and the kids’ constant activity ensures that anyone who suffers from motion sickness will have a hard time watching it. While it can cause plenty of discomfort for adults, it may pose even more of a problem for kids, who won’t know to avert their eyes to calm their stomachs until it’s too late.

Still, in a summer that’s shockingly lacking in animated adventures, Earth to Echo is an enjoyable live-action alternative for young movie lovers. It may not be as powerful—or as memorable—as some of the adventures that moms and dads watched as kids (and you might want to pack a barf bag—just in case). But it’s a charming, family-friendly popcorn flick.

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