It's no secret that Super 8 is J.J. Abrams love-letter to the wide-eyed "kids on an adventure" sci-fi/fantasy adventures released under the Amblin Entertainment banner in the 1980s (E.T., The Goonies, Explorers, and so forth) that helped to mold his creative approach and fueled his desire to make films of his own - the same films that other directors currently active had admitted shaped their passion for cinema (see: Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow).
This summer, we'll be getting another throwback to that brand of gee-whiz excitement and imaginative kids fare with Earth to Echo. However, this time around, the homage will be presented through the lens of a found-footage release, since that faux-realism format remains a popular trend in Hollywood for the time being (see also: Welcome to Yesterday and Paranormal Activity 5 arriving later this year).
Earth to Echo features little-knowns working on both sides of the camera, including director Dave Green - making his feature debut here, based on a screenplay that Henry Gayden (Green's collaborator on the Zombie Roadkill TV shorts) put together from a story that Andrew Panay (producer of Wedding Crashers and When in Rome) is receiving credit for having helped conceive.
Similarly, the kid actors in the film - whose ranks include Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, and X-Factor alum Astro (a.k.a. Brian Bradley) - won't be recognizable to the majority of moviegoers who go to see Earth to Echo.
Of course, that's always the case with found-footage; the format (often used to encompass the horror genre) not only thrives on featuring lesser-knowns in the cast, but also provides an opportunity for the cast and filmmakers to breakout and show they can thrive creatively while under the (relatively) micro-budgeted working conditions. (Case in point: Josh Trank's debut with found-footage Chronicle led to him getting hired to reboot the Fantastic Four series.)
Based on the trailer, it seems as though Earth to Echo is being positioned to become the equivalent of E.T./Flight of the Navigator/etc. for the Internet/digital era, with its more family-friendly tone, plucky young misfits as protagonists, and a cute alien with awesome powers to boot (complaints about overused found-footage tropes aside). However, as with all throwback films of this ilk, one has to wonder: who will Earth to Echo appeal to more - nostalgic adults or younger moviegoers?
Hey, if nothing else, at least it seems as though parents will have a fun, optimistic, and good-natured sci-fi movie to take their kids to go see this summer, in case they aren't so sure about bringing them to see the darker/grittier genre tentpoles opening around that same time (see: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, etc.).
Earth to Echo opens in U.S. theaters on July 2nd, 2014.
Source: Yahoo! Movies