Surprisingly, for what is essentially just ET meets Super 8, Earth to Echo is perfectly serviceable sub-Spielberg, sci-fi fare. It’s so clearly derivative, but while some people might be snotty about it, it’s actually quite well put together and certainly very appealing for its target audience.
Tuck, Alex and Much are three kids living in a Nevadan neighbourhood about to be decimated by the construction of a highway. On their last night together before they have to all move away, strange signals start interfering with their smartphones, launching an adventure in which they uncover alien life and a government conspiracy. It’s all filmed through the somewhat overused device of home video footage from one of the children’s cameras, but it’s done rather well giving the film a frenetic, youthful exuberance and energy. The three young actors (Teo Halm, Brian Bradley, Reese Hartwig) all provide a raw and entertaining screen presence, sometimes even elevating an otherwise unexceptional script. The relationship the children share with the film’s alien, Echo is a long, long way away from Elliott and his Extra Terrestrial but the film does come together with a satisfying message about friendship continuing on regardless of distance separating. While I’d make sure they’ve see ET first, it’s a film I would gladly enter into the exclusive library of my children’s film club, so it’s done something right.
Earth to Echo is out on 25th July in the UK. Running time 89 mins. Certificate PG (UK).
Review by David Rank