America (2014), Earth To Echo – Movie Reviews
America – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 04 Jul 2014
Writer/Director Dinesh D’Souza adapts his book “America: Imagine a World Without Her” into an ineptly manipulative series of structures. This is not what the trailer or the IMDB synopsis describes. The question of what the world would be like without America is asked but never answered. We get an opening where D’Souza imagines George Washington dying by a sniper’s bullet and we watch as American landmarks like Mt. Rushmore, the Lincoln and Washington Memorials disappear. As this is happening, additional alternate history questions are asked, including what would the world be like if the American Civil War had ended in two – or ten – countries instead of one United States.
Instead of exploring the ripple effects of an alternate history without the United States, the movie jumps into listing out several arguments that are taught in schools as “points of shame” about America’s history. This includes the nation’s negative record with Native Americans, Mexico and slavery. The movie spends a few minutes outlining the basic argument of each one before circling back and providing anecdotal evidence that these points of shame are not the whole story. For example, white slavery and black slave owners are brought up as missing from the historical narrative in some sort of false equivocation argument.
This entire exercise turns out to be a pretext for jumping into a bizarre connection of dots from historians and social organizers who sought to sow socialism in America to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (and eventually back to Hillary, just in case she runs for president in 2016.) The movie’s eventual motive is to erase the idea of our past being suspect and imperfect to one where our president and government agencies are actively trying to destroy America. Unless “we” join together and stop it. (By voting Republican, it goes without saying.)
This movie is likely to validate people with a similar world view to D’Souza’s own but not vitriolic or competent enough to generate much in the way of a response from his opposition. It took a long time to get around to patting us on the head and reminding us that Obama and Hillary are the true bogeyman to watch out for.
Bess and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:
Earth To Echo – PG
Release Date: Wed 02 Jul 2014
Earth To Echo does little to differentiate itself from several similar, superior films. It’s opening is very similar to The Goonies or Stand By Me where a group of kids are being forced from their neighborhood. In Earth to Echo, this is supposedly for a massive highway project that the kids soon discover is a front for a government conspiracy to hide the cute but personality-devoid alien shown in the trailer.
The movie is shot in a found-footage style with tons of jerky motion, purposefully poorly-framed “stationary” shots and point-of-view camera work. As is currently the style, this found footage typically looks exactly like the expensive cinema-quality cameras that it is being shot on rather than the consumer grade Sony Handicam and GoPro Hero hardware shown as what the kids are shooting on. This leads to the movie just looking kind of shaky and weird with lazy editing being excused by cameras being turned off or drained of battery.
We also have nothing in the way of development here. The cast are essentially basic stereotypes that don’t really have much of an arc or depth by the end of the story. There’s nothing resembling a twist or a lesson from the story. We just have some kids helping an alien get its ship back. Younger audiences who aren’t old enough for something like Transformers: Age of Extinction will probably enjoy this, but the rest of the audience will be bored and wishing they were watching Super 8 or any number of similar films that have done this premise better.
Bess, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: