Earth to Echo, the new sci-fi phenomenon about the small high tech alien that’s bound to fill a large space in children’s hearts, is hitting the big screen this week. If your children develop a new craving for science fiction after their begging stint to get you to the theaters, there are a few family friendly options to feed their sci-fi need.
1. E.T. (1982)
I’ll start off with a classic because who doesn’t love a story about boy meets alien but alien wants to go home but boy never felt at home until alien who wants to go home comes home to him? ET may not be as cute as the alien from Earth to Echo, but he sure knows how to get to your heart and find a home within. With Reese’s Pieces and flying bike rides beneath the moon, this is a hard hitting adventure proving that you can find a friend in any creature with the ability to connect. ET finds it hard to connect “phone home”, but in the meantime, it’s pretty easy for him to connect to his friend Elliot’s home within his heart.
2. Mac and Me (1988)
Eric, a paralyzed boy in a wheelchair makes acquaintance with a much needed friend who just so happens to have escaped from NASA. Dubbed MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature) by Eric, the two set out on a adventure to find Mac’s family. Through wild alien adventures, soda pop, and healing alien powers, Mac and Me touches on the silly side of sci-fi, but also hits on the tender and fragile importance of friendship and family values.
3. Sally Marshall is Not an Alien (1999)
Sometimes things are what they seem when 12 year old Pip defends new girl in town, Sally Marshall, against the rumor that she’s an alien. As time goes by, Pip realizes all the facts she refused to acknowledge were already there. Budding friendships, in denial beliefs, and difficulties with coming to terms with otherwise unbelievable realities, Sally Marshall teaches the great lesson of acceptance of what could be and what possibly just is.
4. Zenon: The Girl of the 21st Century (1998)
Zenon: The Girl of the 21st Century centers on Zenon, a spunky girl living on an intergalactic space station, who is temporarily “grounded” for taking an unauthorized space exploration on her own. She is sent down to Earth to live with her Aunt where she experiences her first taste of ground level school accompanied by vicious teenage girls and a cute heartthrob boy. When Zenon discovers her space station is in jeopardy, it’s up to Zenon and her new friends to outsmart the mastermind behind the plot to destroy the computers of the space station and sneak back home where she can set things straight. There are no aliens in the film, but the high tech gear on the space station includes holograms, technologically advanced computers, and other great scientific equipment.
5. The Girl From Tomorrow (1990)
The Girl From Tomorrow is a two season Australian mini-series based around 14 year old Alana from the year 3000. A villain called Silverthorn, from the year 2500, kidnaps Alana and takes her to the year 1990 via a time capsule. Alana is stuck in this time where she meets rebel high school student, Jenny Kelly, and her family. Once Alana finally proves to a weary Jenny that she is truly a time traveler, Jenny open-heartedly takes on the mission to help her find the time capsule that will get her back to her own time. Once Alana finds her way home, it has been destroyed as a result of what Silverthorn had done in the past. The central characters move in and out of the past using means of time travel, undoing their mistakes, and securing their world as they know it. The series does feature high tech gadgets including a mind controlled device called a transducer and a small computer gadget called PJ that fits on the wrist.