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DVD Review

DVD cover

Earth to Echo


Starring: Teo Halm, Brian "Astro" Bradley, Reese C. Hartwig and Ella Wahlestedt
Distributor: Entertainment One
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 17 November 2014

To be young is to live your life at the behest of the adults, who will tell you where to go and when. Alex, Tuck and Munch find that their friendship counts for nothing when their community is being torn apart and they are being dispersed. On the last night together the trio decide that here is something very wrong with the situation and set off to investigate. Unsure of what they will discover, never in their wildest dreams did they consider that it would be a diminutive alien visitor...

Earth to Echo (2014. 1 hr, 27 min, 30 sec) is a science fiction/fantasy film directed by Dave Green from a Henry Gayden screenplay. The film was nominated for a Teen Choice Award.

Ah! Home movie, shaky cam, with so many adults losing interest in this particular form of presenting a film, it’s a wonder that Green thought that kids would be thrilled to see something their parents no longer enjoyed. I’m guessing, as the footage is shot by the film's leads, that the audience is supposed to feel like they are really there, rather than feeling like they’re watching a film on choppy seas.

The film is innocuous, probably the DVD case will warn of very mild peril. It harkens back to Spielberg’s mid America adventures, when it was still safe to let your kids go roaming around the neighbourhood, late at night, without the fear that they would be physically molested. It presents an age of innocence which you feel no longer exists. The trio have an adventure; you couldn’t really say that the film ever presents them with situations likely to harm them, Green having castrated the opposition before they have already begun, like Elliot riding his bicycle away from the government agents with their suddenly disappearing guns.

The film borrows heavily from Spielberg, even some of the set-ups are over familiar, but then if you’re going to imitate you may as well imitate the best and yes, there will be bicycles. Like other films in this genre, Earth to Echo provides a youthful adventure, with a lot of heart. Echo, itself is suitably cute, not unlike Ray Harryhausen’s clockwork owl, when he comes into contact with the kids, he uses their tech to see. Of course, every film needs a villain and it turns out that the construction workers may not be what they seem and know about Echo - cue running around the neighbourhood.

The film's three leads, Teo Halm (Alex), Brian Astro Bradley (Tuck), and Reese Hartwig (Munch) do give some heart to the film, but the exploration of friendship soon gives way to action sequences, some very effective, I particularly enjoyed them driving through a truck while Echo deconstructs it around them.

Obviously, as the film is of the found footage type, picture quality is variable, dependant on which technological marvel is supposedly taking the shot. Audio, on the other hand is nice and clear and you get a choice of a 5.1 or 2.0 track, with subtitles.

The disc comes with five extras, kicking off with, Creating the Truck Scene (5 min, 15 sec) with David Green et al, discussing how they created the film's best set piece. Casting the Characters (6 min, 37 sec) looks at how they chose the leads. We Made That! The Making of Earth to Echo (8 min, 46 sec) is part advert, part explanation of the film's creation. Obviously, given the running time, it lacks a little depth. Friends, No Matter How Far (7 min, 52 sec) discusses the underpinning theme of friendship. The extras close with six Deleted Scenes of variable length (5 min, 12 sec), mostly more scenes with the kids.

Ok! So, if you’re between eight and twelve you may well like the film. Adults will recognise way too much from their own childhood films to really engage.


Charles Packer

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