Summer kids movies: “Earth to Echo” & “Dragon 2”


At my work (daycare), we took the kids to see a couple kids movies recently: “Earth to Echo” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Here’s what I thought 🙂 (Contains spoilers.)

Earth to Echo

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“Earth to Echo” is a movie about how some kids find a lost alien and help it get to its spaceship and get home. Just some initial observations: it’s filmed like the boys are filming it with handheld cameras, each of the pre-teen boys has his own cell phone, and they use the word “Dude” way too much. You’d think it’s a nice kids movie and all, but it actually features kids breaking rules and doing all the wrong things. But somehow that’s ok because of their quest to help the cute little alien. Quite the “ends justify the means” story.

The movie makers made the story so that these kids “have” to do all these things you’d never want your kid doing. Like lying to their parents and sneaking out of the house. Like sneaking out to bike out to the desert at night. Like going into a bar and to a wild teenager party (dim lights, drinking, dancing, women, and all). Like stealing and driving (on the road!) a car and a truck. Like avoiding and fighting police because they’re conveniently the bad guys. Like chatting about “hot” girls and kissing. Like breaking and entering. AND did I mention that these kids can’t be more than 12 or 13?! And the only kid who has any moral scruples and protests is made fun of, and then ends up just going along.

Oh, but they help the little alien escape the bad guys and get away to its home. Yeah, it’s got a message of friendship as these kids face danger, help each other, make friends with the alien, and grow to appreciate each other more…all while disobeying their parents and breaking the law… Which is supposed to make all that bad stuff not so bad at all? Quite fitting that the company that made it is named “Relativity Media” 🙄

All in all, not a recommend. This is no family-friendly movie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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I haven’t seen the first one in this series, but that didn’t seem to be a problem; this story was good on its own.

Dragons. They used to be the terror of the Viking village, but now the people have learned to get along with them and have domesticated some. But now rumors fly of a stranger who’s capturing dragons for a dragon army of his own, which he’ll mind control using a huge “Alpha” dragon, and then use to terrify the villages into submission. How do they stop him?

This story does stay true to the real meaning of family as a close-knit unit, though there are some problems at first.
• Hiccup has grown some years, and it’s time for him to get ready to take over as chief, but he doesn’t want to be chief, and ignores his father’s talk and training to go exploring. By the end, though, he does accept this responsibility.
• Hiccup disagrees with his father on how to handle the hostile stranger, thinking he can go and talk him into a peaceful solution (he is later shown to be wrong about this, and realizes it). Yeah, the peaceful way doesn’t always work.
• But the strangest thing regards Hiccup’s mother, who believed dragons were good even during the wars against them. She was presumed dead in a dragon raid when Hiccup was a baby, but was actually carried away, and in this movie, is revealed to have been living with the dragons for 20 years because she chose them over her family life (she didn’t know that the villagers and dragons are now friends). That, I thought, was not a right choice at all, and surprising for a mother to leave her baby (Hiccup). But when Hiccup and his father find her, she is apologetic for her selfishness and agrees to return, so that was good. The whole family fights together in a battle, which is very neat. Family is encouraged in this film.

Another positive message is the one of how powerful unity is. Hiccup’s friends don’t desert him in tough situations. He and his family together are a formidable force in battle. All the dragons standing together defeat the huge “Alpha.” Shows what being united and brave can do 😎

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This movie was better than I expected. Still some things to think about, but a good movie overall.

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