Box Office Democracy: “Earth to Echo”
If my eight year-old self had seen Earth to Echo this weekend he would have loved it. It’s vaguely science-fiction-y and soft sci-fi was my jam back then. It features clever resourceful kids and clueless adults and what kid doesn’t like to think themselves cleverer than their oppressors? Earth to Echo also has a good pace to it, it goes quickly from action piece to action piece with very little fluff holding it down. Unfortunately I had to see this movie as my 30 year-old self and so I enjoyed it a bit less but I would probably recommend it to my non-existent friends with kids in this age group who absolutely had to take their kids to a movie in a theater.
It feels like Earth to Echo can’t keep track of all of its characters and that’s saying something when they only have four characters to focus on. Each character gets a thing early in the movie and basically is just that thing for 90 minutes. No one changes, no one grows, the first chapter was ripped out of whatever screenwriting textbook the makers of this movie studied. The characters are strong examples of well-worn youth archetypes but archetypes is all they are.
I also have to take issue with the really lazy evil anti-alien conspiracy they’ve got in this universe. They are going to make everyone move out of their homes supposedly to build a freeway through the town. I assume they seized these homes through eminent domain and paid all of the residents for their homes but when their plans are foiled they just pack up and leave and everyone who hasn’t bought a new house stays. You can’t do that. If you’re running a horrible conspiracy and your plans get foiled you have to build the freeway anyway or else people are going to ask a lot of unnecessary questions. You also would have had to build the freeway if you succeeded in digging the giant alien spaceship out of the ground. Your contingency budget for this plan had to include one freeway, that’s just responsible evil conspiracy management.
Ultimately I have to judge this movie by how I think I would like it if I had brought my hypothetical child to it. Earth to Echo fails this test because I would probably be bored out of my skull and while putting up with mind-numbing entertainment to please our children is undoubtedly part of being a good parent (thanks for sitting through Rookie of the Year twice, mom!) there are people making better movies out there. I appreciate that there are eight year-olds all over this great land loving Earth to Echo right now but I feel that at least a few of them will be apologizing for it in parentheticals in a couple decades.