Earth to Echo Review
A premise wasted on its execution
God, what wasted potential. There's something about the ideas of Earth to Echo that feel interesting, and the concepts behind this film could have worked so much better. Unfortunately, the film as a whole is fronted by a pretty clunky script and various inconsistencies with both the character writing and the shot structure as a whole. On top of that, this is one of the most cliched films I've seen in a long time, if not ever. I could predict pretty much everything about this film as soon as it came onto the screen, and the way that the plot points were executed didn't feel earned or original in their own way, they just felt tired.
In regards to the way this film was executed, this is a found footage film at its core, and there are quite a few things you need to suspend your disbelief about in order to get behind this film. Okay, fine, I can buy the idea that the lead kid, Tuck, has very high-quality video equipment (despite the fact that apparently, his parents are barely there for him, so that's inconsistent), but there are things outside of that tidbit of information that I just can't get behind. For one, the film as a whole is made to feel like it was completely filmed and edited by Tuck, but there are various inconsistencies in said editing. Dialogue will continue uncut even when there's a cut in the footage. Various cuts will be made to the footage, which makes it feel like it has way more cuts than there are. Other cameras, such as a camera hidden in a pair of glasses, look way more high quality than they should for the kind of camera they are. THe kid continues filming at all times, even when they're trying to sneak around and be as quiet as possible. Finally, there are VARIOUS shots in this film that don't feel like they should be possible given the limited cameras and angles available to these kids. One of the kids will steal the camera for a bit and there will be multiple angles of this particular shot, which makes no sense given the fact that there is seemingly only one primary camera. It's just messy in its execution, and honestly, if it were a straightforward narrative film, it probably would have been a lot better.
That still doesn't save the clunky script, though, which as I said is so predictable that it feels like a carbon copy of Stranger Things, which didn't come out for another two years after the release of this movie. It's almost like The Duffer Brothers saw this film and went, "We can make that better." I kind of hate being that harsh, but man, this film had so much potential and just wasted it on an inconsistent premise with dialogue that doesn't sound like actual dialogue most of the time and pacing that feels both too slow and too fast -- too fast in that it cuts so much out to try and make the action fly by much faster and too slow in that it feels more like two hours than 90 minutes. I will say this -- Echo is the best part of this film by far. The concept for the main alien in this film is really creative, he is absolutely adorable, and the scenes with him in this film and the (kind of) dynamic between him and the kid Alex are the best parts of the film, bar none. The actors also do a solid job here, and yes, the film does look pretty good. However, there is so much that just doesn't add up. There are so many scenarios in which these kids should have been caught and they just don't get caught or suffer any consequences for most of these actions, which doesn't make any sense. Oh, and can I talk about the fact that these spaceship parts feel the need to fly all over the place and destroy the area around them when they could just magnetize to the main key? Like, what sense does this technology make?
I don't know, I honestly procrastinated on reviewing this movie because I didn't really feel like talking about it and/or I wanted to make sure I talked about it in a way that felt cohesive. At this point, though, it's been a couple of hours since I saw the film and I'm just tired because it's late at night, so I'll just say this -- Earth to Echo is a solidly made film with good acting and an intriguing concept, but it never, NEVER pushes the boundary outside of that and feels incredibly cliched and tired throughout. I definitely don't recommend this one. Sorry, guys.
Letter Grade: D+