Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Earth To Echo Review: Lackluster but Creative

Found footage films are no longer a dime in the dozen. The genre is more like a nickle in a dozen. While that analogy may not make any sense, the point is you can't seem to go one year without seeing a found footage film on the silver screen. While the genre is use to being horror related, a different kind of found footage film has risen this summer. Instead of scaring people, the film Earth to Echo seeks to reach out to the families  with its sci-fi aspects and overall adventure. However, while this summer movie is no doubt different, did this found footage film stand out from the many that make up the genre?

Earth to Echo follows the story of three kids who are about leave their hometown due to a highway being built in their suburb. On their final night together, the boys discover a mysterious canister that carries a small mechanical lifeform that they name echo. Together with Echo, and a girl they meet along the way, the boys set off on a adventure to find Echo's ship before the evil government agents get there first.

Earth to Echo had a very simple story. In this simplicity, the story was effective. However certain elements left me a little underwhelmed. Plot points such as neighborhood being bulldoze and the evil government had no strong bearing to the overall story; and it made it hard to actually care about the conflict. The story could have just easily followed a life changing plotline for the boys and their meeting of Echo helps them deal with the change. It may not have been as thrilling, but it would have been just as effective. While the plot does have the some problem, the story of Earth to Echo was simple enough for me to be engaged. Plus the film actually had a plot; which cannot be said about other found footage films.

Finding good child actors is never an easy thing, so I am willing to give the four kids the benefit of the doubt. While the acting was as good as it was going to get, the characters themselves could be daunting at times. It was not that the characters were bad, but my issue resolved around that I have seen a lot of these character traits before. Still the young characters were tolerable. While the four kids were alright, the other human characters were not. Granted you did not see much of the minor characters, but their blatant elements and sheer obliviousness was hard to ignore. Then there was the character of Echo. The little robot was certainly cute to look at on screen. Unfortunately, Echo did not seem to have a lot of character. This was a problem because Echo was suppose to have a connection with the kids. While it was present, the relationship between this alien life form and the kids seemed lacking.

Seeing that effects of a found footage film has been so often, it has becoming harder and harder for these movies to stand out. However Earth to Echo was a little ambitious in its found footage effect. The movie used various camera footage, youtube videos and music to express itself. While this was unique, the cinematography for Earth to Echo could be a little daunting. It was not that this movie's ideas were bad, but it was hard to follow the film's direction at certain moments. Plus, the direction had me wondering how Tuck was able to get all the angles featured in the film; not to mention how he acquired the score. This is more nitpicking then anything,  but I cannot help but wonder these questions.

Earth To Echo is indeed a film with problems. Certain elements like story and characters were either repetitive or just underwhelming. When it came to a general movie experience, Earth To Echo was a bit lackluster. However, the film wasstill an innovative found footage film. The film might have been a little too ambitious in this element, but it was still creative with the genre's concept. If nothing to else, Earth To Echo is worth a watch. Sure it is not the best film you will see this year, but it is a creative little movie.

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