We take so many parts of this world for granted, but what if we could see it all for the first time? Blue skies? Picnic blankets? K-Pop?
The Space Between Us tells the story of the first human born on Mars and his experiences seeing Earth for the first time. Is it a wonder to behold or a boring void? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Asa Butterfield of Ender’s Game is our hero Gardner Elliot, Britt Robertson of Tomorrowland is his Earth-born friend Tulsa, and Gary Oldman of The Dark Knight trilogy plays scientist and mentor Nathaniel Shepherd. Other cast members include Carla Gugino of Spy Kids and BD Wong of Jurassic World.
The director is Peter Chelsom, whose other films include Hear My Song, Hector and the Search for Happiness, and Hannah Montana: The Movie. I’m not at all familiar with his work, but a quick look at Rotten Tomatoes tells me he started out well and then fell off in quality, at least in terms of critical reception. It remains to be seen whether this movie follows the pattern or returns to form.
The trailer begins with Tulsa using her study lab to study Gardner. They’re online chatting, and that leads to plenty of misunderstandings, including the meaning of people being real. Gardner says his best friend isn’t even real, to which his best friend–a robot–says, “That hurts my feelings.” See, this kind of attitude is why we’re going to have a robot uprising, Gardner. Tulsa also doesn’t believe he was born on Mars, although she admits to feeling like she’s from another planet herself. We see her sitting tentatively at a piano and then running away as people peer through the window at her. Yes, how alien to consider making music. What a weird person!
Gardner wants to go to Earth, and his caretaker says he needs to get out and meet new people. But Shepherd points out, “His heart can’t handle Earth’s gravity.” Yeah, there’s a few other things about Earth his heart won’t be able to handle right now too. But Gardner says it’s worth the risk and blasts off for our world. He gets a rocking pair of sunglasses, discovers a world of colors other than red and white, and meets probably the world’s rudest girl before walking into Tulsa’s class. “Are you a transfer student?” the teacher asks. “Okay,” says Gardner. Then he accidentally douses himself in the eye wash station. His response? “Okay!” Gardner, we’ve heard you talk. We know you say other words. Maybe use some of them?
Gardner tells Tulsa his mother died in childbirth on Mars, but he wants to find his father, who’s still on Earth. But Tulsa doesn’t trust him; she’s grown up in foster care, and she’s apparently gotten all the bad families considering how much she’s been lied to. Gardner points out that things that sound crazy can still be true. Then he sees a horse for the first time and freaks out. People who seem crazy can still be true as well.
The road trip montage begins, and Gardner experiences hot air balloons, inchworms, and motorcycles. But gravity’s doing its work, and he collapses in Las Vegas. To be fair, he’s not the only one falling down there. Shepherd chases after him, trying to get him back to Mars and safety, but Gardner escapes in a biplane, shouting, “This is my life!” Well, it won’t be if you stay on this planet much longer. Sure enough, he passes out in the backseat of Tulsa’s truck and gets put in sci-fi intensive care. “He wasn’t lying,” Tulsa whispers. You know, this doesn’t prove he’s from Mars. It only means he has a heart condition of some kind. But whatever.
The two close in on Gardner’s missing dad, and Tulsa spots a green car lot tube man and asks Gardner, “Friend of yours?” So because he’s from Mars, he must know little green men? That’s vicious stereotyping right there! They go into outer space and hang out (literally) in zero gravity, Gardner stands in the rain, and he tells Tulsa, “You make me human.” Well, technically your parents’ DNA had more to do with that than she did, but I get what you’re saying. “No matter what happens, it was worth it,” he adds as they sit on the edge of the Grand Canyon and as he vandalizes a bathroom mirror with the words “I WUZ HERE.” So no English tutors on Mars, then?
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Yes, yes I do. It doesn’t look like anything groundbreaking, but the story seems sweet, it’s got some talented actors leading the cast, and the concept of someone experiencing Earth for the first time is more than a little intriguing. If it’s executed well, it ought to be a fun time for the whole family.
Just don’t bring your robots. They won’t respond well to being told they’re not real.
The Space Between Us is owned by STX Entertainment.