State-of-the-art ode to ET and imitators

Earth To Echo starring Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Astro. Photo: PA Photo/Entertainment One
Earth To Echo starring Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Astro. Photo: PA Photo/Entertainment One

In 1982, ET phoned home and now another stranded extra-terrestrial requires assistance from pint-sized heroes to safely return to the stars.

Dave Green’s fantastical family-oriented adventure, Earth To Echo, begs obvious similarities to Steven Spielberg’s classic coming-of-age story and the 1987 fantasy *Batteries Not Included.

Green’s special effects-laden picture lacks the emotional wallop of the former and the unabashed charm of the latter, but does tread a familiar path through fresh eyes by employing the found footage format a la Paranormal Activity.

Earth To Echo is a state-of-the-art ode to ET and its imitators that ups the technical ante. Green employs special effects at key junctures, but, for the most part, he’s reliant on the young cast to carry his film.

Halm, Bradley and Hartwig are appealing without being too winsomely cute, and there are some genuinely touching scenes of the boys choking back emotion as the enormity of the situation, and the risks, become clear.

The titular robot’s personality is encapsulated in a few beeps and trills that should, if nothing else, remind audiences to keep their mobile devices switched off for the duration.