6 June 2014 9:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Boasting the dubious distinction of being the first found-footage adventure made for family audiences, “Earth to Echo” reaches for the stars with its gentle sci-fi shenanigans, but the rote result remains decidedly earthbound. Tyro helmer Dave Green wears his ’80s-era Amblin inspirations on his sleeve in this good-hearted “E.T.”-meets-”Chronicle” hybrid, which never quite finds its own voice. A little picture bravely expected to enter the summer wide-release skirmish a few days after the latest “Transformers” installment, “Echo” looks likely to get steamrolled at the box office by more substantial studio product.

Developed and produced by Disney under a cloud of secrecy as the “Untitled Wolf Adventure” back in summer 2012, the relatively low-budget pic was quietly sold to Relativity last year when the Mouse House reportedly didn’t know what to do with it. Those concerns appear to have been well founded, based on the finished product’s likable »


- Geoff Berkshire

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