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REVIEW OF EARTH TO ECHO

year: 2014 rating: *
There's the R rating... PG, PG-13, G and NC-17... So how about an HH rating to warn anyone sick of the Hand Held camera narrative...

A simple wish, and yet in horror movies, the device fits alright, being that the characters will most likely wind up dead… But it’s way out of place in EARTH TO ECHO, a cross between E.T: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, GOONIES, BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED, SUPER 8 (a homage to E.T. and GOONIES), and CHRONICLE, which, like ECHO, is a story told entirely through a teenager recording the entire experience…

In this case, the novice auteur is an upper-middle-class African American suburban kid who talks like a streetwise rapper… His name’s Tuck, and for some reason he needs to capture everything during the last week before all local homes are replaced by a newly constructed freeway… And he's got a lens to fit just about anywhere, including his bicycle and sunglasses.

The cookie cutter neighborhood, reminiscent of the fancy yet rural tract in POLTERGEIST, borders a vast array of hilly fields and a grungy small town, providing an endless potential for the kids to get lost in, and best yet, to land themselves in exciting trouble... But because of the limitations of that vapid little camera, there’s hardly an adventure at all.

Handheld Goonies
After Tuck and his two pals: Alex, a mellow diamond in the rough, and the token fat geek Munch (a wannabe Chunk), discover a map on their cell phones, the result is an alien resembling Ray Harryhausen's metallic owl from CLASH OF THE TITANS… Yet when all these pivotal ingredients pile on, there’s absolutely no sense of wonderment or suspense…

Even after being captured by surreptitious government agents, it's a lot of shaky confusion… Not even a pretty young drama queen can make these banal dullards shine past their one-dimensional stereotypes…

So while that roving cam might work to entertain high schoolers on You Tube, the titular alien deserved a more resilient outlet to plug into. The sporadic tremors and 11th hour CGI aside, if Echo were an injured raccoon it wouldn't have made much difference.
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