Story

Earth to Echo is a science fiction action adventure movie about three friends – Tuck (Brian Bradley), Munch (Reese Hartwig) and Alex (Teo Halm). When a new highway construction project starts in their neighbourhood of Mulberry Woods in Las Vegas, families are forced out of their homes. During their last week in Mulberry Woods, the three friends start getting mysterious coded messages on their mobile phones. When they tell their parents and the authorities, the adults don’t take the boys seriously. And when construction men deliver new phones to neighbourhood residents, the boys become even more suspicious and hide their old mobiles.

Equipped with their curiosity and a strong friendship, Tuck, Munch and Alex set out to discover how to crack the code. Munch eventually works out that his coded message is an image of a desert approximately 20 miles from their homes. On their last night in Mulberry Woods, the boys ride their bikes to the desert. They’re shocked to discover a strange being from another world. The alien robot, named Echo, is stranded on earth and needs help rebuilding his spaceship.

The boys and their new friend run into trouble when they discover that the construction men are in fact undercover operatives investigating the missing spaceship.

Themes

Alien activity; friendship; conformity versus rebellion

Violence

Earth to Echo has some violence. For example:

  • The undercover construction workers threaten Echo and torture him by running tests with probes.
  • There is a physical conflict between two young boys in an alley at night. They shout at each other, and push and shove each other against a fence.
  • We hear that an older girl used to beat up two younger boys in the school playground.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Earth to Echo has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, the boys are initially scared when they first encounter Echo. Younger children might find him scary. But he soon proves to be a friend.

From 5-8
Younger children in this age group might find Echo scary at first too. There is also a scene where the boys are kidnapped. One of them cries and sends a farewell message on his phone in case he’s never seen again.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might be upset by the scene where the tearful boy sends a farewell message.

Over 13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

Earth to Echo has mild sexual references. For example:

  • Tuck asks Emma on a date and talks about being romantically interested in her. She refuses to give Tuck her phone number at first, but she and Tuck form a deeper relationship as the movie progresses. 
  • The boys talk about how two other students at their school are ‘kissing buddies’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Earth to Echo shows some substance use. For example:

  • Tuck, Munch and Alex go into a bar. There are beer bottles and glasses of whiskey behind the bar and on nearby tables. But no one is drinking in the scene. 
  • At a college party, students hold opaque cups. It looks like some of the cups contain alcohol, but no one is actually seen drinking.

Nudity and sexual activity

Earth to Echo has mild sexual activity. For example:

  • An older man and woman kiss briefly while sitting at a bar. 
  • In an adult country bar, several women are dressed in sexually revealing clothing, wearing short skirts and low-cut shirts.

Product placement

Earth to Echo shows the following products: computers, mobile phones and YouTube.

Coarse language

Earth to Echo has some mild coarse language, mild name-calling and insults, and some religious exclamations.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Earth to Echo is a motivational movie that promotes friendships and relationships as the foundation of a happy life. Tuck, Munch and Alex stay friends throughout the movie, despite the challenges they come across. The story is also about the importance of coming to your own conclusions and not judging others. The alien robot Echo shows the boys that there is more to the world than they thought.

The movie’s themes make it more suitable for children aged 12 years and over. There is some violence in this movie, and younger children might find Echo scary. You might be concerned that the boys steal and drive a car, lie to their parents and get into some other risky situations. The hand-held camera style might make viewing difficult for some people, as well as making the movie more confusing for younger children.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the importance of:

  • maintaining strong friendships and letting your friends support and challenge you
  • letting yourself be open to new possibilities, and trusting strangers who prove themselves to be decent
  • fighting for causes that you strongly believe in, and not giving up when you’re faced with obstacles.