“I’m going to tell you a story and I’m not supposed to tell anyone so keep it between us. We were normal kids until we discovered something.”
-Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley)

EARTH TO ECHO // Here is my theory: director David Green saw “Super 8” and heard critics call it a mix between “E.T. Extraterrestrial” and “Cloverfield,” pairing beings from another planet with children who assist in helping them get home. Instead of a little brown alien, however, director J.J. Abrams opted for an alien the size of his “Cloverfield” monster. Upon being exposed to the comparison, Green likely thought of doing the same exact blend, but instead, he would take the children helping the extraterrestrial storyline and place it in the found footage genre. Complete with shaky cameras, bike mounts, and even cell phone footage, “Earth To Echo” is a first person family adventure film that forgets to be its own film, while retracing the same old steps. The only element within the film that feels vaguely creative is the robotic owl-looking alien that just wants to find its spaceship and go home.

Tuck, Alex, and Munch are about to say goodbye to one another as their families are all moving away. But when one of their cellphones begins flashing a strange map, the trio set out on one last journey together out into the desert to track down the signal. There they find the strange little robot that is being hunted down by the men disguised as construction workers in their town. Keeping it a secret as they hunt down the parts for the alien ship, “Earth To Echo” does project some admirable visual effects, including a semi-truck being dismantled and put back together in the matter of seconds. However, the overall narrative feels extremely stale and the leading boys remain uninspired, delivering rigid performances. David Green proves what era he is a product of but instead of paying homage to these classics, Green copies and pastes the basics.

[Directed by David Green] [PG] [91 min] [2 July 2014]  05twohalf-stars

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