Earth to Hollywood: Social Media Is Not the Enemy


Smartphone-enabled tech has been getting a bad rep at the movies, but this summer’s Earth to Echo features heroes who use its powers for good.

An adolescent boy seeks redemption through cyberspace. A young girl is seduced by a middle-aged internet predator. An introverted teen ends his life after his personal photographs go viral.

Adoration, Trust, Disconnect—it seems like Hollywood has a bad case of technophobia. And social media is cinema’s new favorite villain. Now, a whole new breed of coming-of-age, horror film-esque movies is emerging, one which portrays technology, particularly social media, as an ominous, ubiquitous, all-powerful force that overpowers the intelligence and capabilities of the leading teenage characters and their technologically illiterate parents.

However, Relativity Media’s recent film, Earth to Echo, strays from this pack of technophobic cinema: throughout the film, the young leading characters utilize technology to navigate a series of obstacles, all with the intention of helping their new alien friend return home.

Though the film embraces technological advancement, it is very much rooted in the classics.

 The film looks backward to take a step forward. The entire plot (featuring a wounded alien, a hostile military, and a sympathetic young boy) uses E.T. as a model; the establishing conflict is totally The Goonies; the characters are, type-for-type, mirrors of Stand By Me; and there’s even a brief chase sequence with a snapping dog that looks suspiciously like The Sandlot.

Rather than reinforce the generation differences between younger and older audience members, Earth to Echo, with its nostalgic references, achieves a sort of common ground. Not to mention, this film does not present technology as monstrous, nor does it suggest that it is an evil conspiracy crafted by the tech industry. Rather, technology is a tool that may be used for good.

The film has performed modestly, bringing in about $24 million so far (with a budget of $13 million), receiving so-so reviews.

So, readers, what do you think? Do you prefer the cautionary tales that warn audiences of technology’s potential for evil? Or do you prefer Earth to Echo’s portrayal of technology as a useful and crucial tool?

To read the full article by Katie Kilkenny of The Atlantic, click here.

Post submitted by JoAnna


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