Earth to Echo

Director: Dave Green
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 2.0

Three outsiders (Teo Halm, Brian Bradley and Reese Hartwig), each getting ready to move to different locations with their parents (and away from each other), have one final 'bonding' moment when their cell phones start getting weird messages and they're able to figure out the signals are coming from the desert: lo and behold, a tiny owl-like robot (that they call "Echo") is in trouble and needs assistance rebuilding himself. Cribs from the likes of Flight of the Navigator, *Batteries Not Included and E.T. for its 'plot' and Cloverfield, Super 8 and Chronicle for its use of 'handheld cameras' operated by the 'actors' which, to my mind, has never ever come across as anything other than a filmmaking gimmick - it's kids against the adult world (and the government), and the kids, via petty crime (and excessive fibbing) end up saving their alien pal. Even in its very limited screen-time, the Echo creature steals the movie away from the bland, technology-obsessed youngsters; Bradley (as "Astro") is supposed to add a "hip," urban element to this (it fails, playa).