Best Quote from Audience Member:
(Clap clap clap!)
Person: Oh ... we're not clapping.
Three boys live in a Nevada neighborhood that is about to get torn apart for a freeway. These boys are Tuck, Alex, and Munch. Tuck is a budding filmmaker and Youtuber, Alex is a foster kid, and Munch shows signs of Asperger's. They're best friends who have looked out for one another, and now they want to spend one more night having boyish adventures.
Except their boyish adventures include following a signal (why is it always guys following a signal?) to a hunk of junk that suddenly bursts to life and introduces itself by whistling Alex's ringtone. He needs the kids' help to put his ship back together, and thus their adventure truly begins.
Echo was a good example of the up-and-coming multimedia storytelling. Tuck uses iTunes in order to score their conversations via Skype, and the whole thing is recorded on Youtube. Through these different mediums, we see a story arise.
However, this convention is broken as soon as Echo shoots to life. Echo brings with him a movie score, that immediately reminds us that we are not watching a kid's mismatched Youtube channel, but instead we are sitting in a theater with day-old popcorn.
There is also the question of protagonist. Who exactly is the protagonist in this story? We believe it's going to be Tuck, since he's the one with the camera and we're seeing it from his perspective. This made me excited, because Tuck is black. He isn't kind of black, in that way that white people will feel comfortable and can relate to him. He's just who he is, and so is his family. With Home coming soon to theaters with a black girl as the main character, I was excited to see this new trend of branching out to POC protagonists. You think this trend would have happened a long time ago and just become everyday use.
However, Tuck disappears behind the camera, leaving room for Alex to take the reins. Sometimes Tuck is neither behind the camera or in front of the camera, leaving Munch to get a story, Alex to get a story, and Tuck to return to react to his friends' stories. While Tuck has an arch, it is completely dependent on his friends' archs.
This disappointed me. However, one good thing the story did was focus on Alex's fear of abandonment and Munch's awkwardness. It was good to see a boy struggling with Asperger's not as the butt of a joke or as an outsider, but a hero.
Little boys can be heroes, too. That's their take-home message.
However, girls cannot.
I suppose they can, but they don't need names to do it. Or autonomy. Or respect.
Emma does have a name, but they barely use it. She's known as "Mannequin Girl" for the first half of the movie. She's beautiful, sweet, and poised. The first time we see her, she's approached by Tuck who is trying to prove that his new glasses are a chick magnet. Emma is enjoying lunch with her own friends when this random kid in weird glasses comes up to her and starts to try to talk. The expression she gives him isn't one of Regina George, but instead just confusion and a little annoyance that her meal and conversation has been interrupted by a strange unknown boy (she is literally in the middle of a sentence when he cuts her off). Because of this, he stumbles and feels stupid, and we're supposed to feel sorry for Tuck because Mannequin Girl didn't give a nerd like him the light of day.
Could it be that this is not Emma being a jerk, but Tuck feeling entitled to the trophy of prettiest girl's phone number, and because she gives him a weird look, he's emasculated in his adolescent growth? Come to think of it, Tuck doesn't even ask Emma for her number; he gets cold feet and mumbles that he needs a piece of paper.
The loving nickname Mannequin Girl comes from Munch saying she looks like a mannequin, and mannequins are beautiful.
Later on, these boys break into her room and mess with all of her stuff, and she's just supposed to be okay with it. She takes it better than me, and forces them to take her with them on their adventure. On this adventure, she falls in love with Alex. And thus she becomes the girlfriend.
Emma does not get a say in any of the storytelling. Tuck purposefully and violently cuts her footage out, fast forwarding and mocking her in a voiceover. What we do see is her saving Alex and her being "pretty," as Much and Tuck keep pointing out.
That was gross.
This is for young boys. My brother would love this movie. The kids play games on the computer together, they sneak behind their moms' backs, they are wonderfully awkward and trying to find some sort of voice in a world that gives no voice to children. This is for the Youtube generation. Unfortunately, I feel like the POCs and women in this film were not given a voice at all.
THE MOVIE ITSELF: The alien was cute. The effects were nice. The kids were good actors. It had a story and a message. Quaint and well put together. It's just unfortunate that E.T. did it better thirty years ago. B
ENJOYMENT FACTOR: It's a fun time at the movies, and Munch and the other two boys are adorable. But it's one of those movies where you think you like when it's done, and then it percolates and you realize you're never going to see it again. B-
VERDICT: A fun time with your little brother or child you nanny. If you are childless and know no boys around the age of twelve, then perhaps see it at the cheapees. B-
EARTH TO ECHO
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I see a lot of them.