Film

Earth to Echo

Phone home, all over again

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Aimed, presumably, at young audiences who have never been exposed to a 32-year-old Steven Spielberg movie about a homesick extraterrestrial, Dave Green’s Earth to Echo flaunts its obvious influences with all the fresh novelty of an app update.

While the method of storytelling has been given a fitting technological upgrade, everything regarding this sci-fi adventure, right down to the movie poster, is blatant regarding its intentions: It clearly sees itself as E.T. for the Y2K set.

Still, give novice feature director Green and screenwriter Henry Gayden credit for more than just audacity—despite all those echoes of classic ’80s sci-fi fantasy adventures, Earth to Echo proves engaging in its own right.

Credit a youthful, energetic spirit, nicely conveyed by its cast of naturally acting newcomers, a workable raw-footage construct and a spare but smartly spent special effects budget for the satisfying end result.

The 89-minute film cuts quickly to the chase as the lives of teenage longtime best buddies Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), Munch (Reese Hartwig), and Alex (Teo Halm) are about to be uprooted with a new highway development scheduled to level their suburban Nevada neighborhood.

But as they spend one final night together before the mass exodus, their cell phones start “barfing” up what appears to be maps and other gibberish, and the trio suspects something else could be responsible for attracting all those shifty-looking construction folks.

Their attempts at deciphering the images take them to the middle of the desert where a strange-looking cylinder embedded in the ground next to a transformer soon yields a frightened, wide-eyed inhabitant—no Reese’s Pieces required.

Even the previously uninitiated will know where all this is headed. Aside from the primary source of inspiration, you’ll also find bits of everything from The Goonies to Super 8 woven not-so-subtly into the Earth to Echo tapestry.

But having the characters’ constant reliance on video recording, texting and various forms of social-media-driven communication keeps it all in and of the moment, and that’s also true of the contemporary dialogued delivered by its likable young cast.

As for the homesick little alien they’ve come to name Echo—c’mon, who can resist something that looks like a metallic owl bobblehead with glowing neon-blue eyes and speaks in cute electronic chirps?

Sometimes even the most shameless of knockoffs can’t be denied.

SVCR Americas Greatest Gameshow
More Film...
The Midwife
Catherines the Great

The French-language title of director Martin Provost’s latest femme-centric drama is Sage Femme, a term that technically means midwife, as in the medical profession, but also literally describes a “well-behaved woman.” The double meaning is particularly apt when applied to the…

more »
Mother!
Something nasty this way comes

Writer/director Darren Aronofsky wants to have his commercial cake and chomp down on some vexing personal issues, too, in Mother!, a very Rosemary’s Baby-like intimate horror tale that definitely grabs your attention and eventually soars well over the top to make the bold concluding…

more »
Marjorie Prime
Mind over memory

The haunting and allusive Marjorie Prime is a sci-fi film set in the near future but its emotional resonance is bracingly immediate. Based on the 2014 play of the same name by Jordan Harrison, and written and directed by Michael Almereyda, it is, in the largest sense, a movie about memory.…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Together for Peace

6:00pm|Majestic

Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Day of Peace observes those displaced by war

6:00pm

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Trove
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Foof Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Last Outrageous Women

7:00pm|Village Books

7-Day Dance Festival Finale

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

BOB_2017 Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Saturday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

South Whatcom Birding Walks

8:00am|South Whatcom Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Southside Rummage Sale

8:30am| Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Little Mountain Trail 10K

10:00am|Carpenter Creek Winery

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Salmon Sighting

10:00am|Thompson Creek Bridge

Pesto Perfecto

11:00am|Ferndale Library

Council of the Animals

11:00am|Boulevard Park

Trial Vineyard Open House

12:00pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Sedro-Woolley Brewfest

2:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

The Art of Living

3:00pm|Deming Library

River Walk

3:00pm| Horseshoe Bend Trailhead.

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Kulshan CLT Community Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Democrats Dinner

5:30pm| Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa

BowEdison Anniversary Party

5:30pm|BowEdison

Fall Demo Derby

6:30pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Moment

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

see our complete calendar »

Village Books 2020 Solutions Sept 2017 Trove BOB_2017 Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market MBT Janis Joplin