The Space Between Us Blu-ray Review
In good conscience, I can’t recommend THE SPACE BETWEEN US. As a serious piece of cinema, it’s laughable, but as a bad movie, it’s enjoyable. It’s well intentioned, but consistently illogical. It’s sometimes heartfelt, but sometimes ignorant to human emotions and intellect. THE SPACE BETWEEN US is a sci-fi romance mishmash that feels like an outdated teen romcom that sat on the shelf long past its expiration date.
Gardner Elliot (Butterfield) was born on Mars. This wasn’t intentional, but an accident on the part of the astronauts and the company, Genesis. CEO Nathan Shepherd (Oldman) found out about Sarah Elliot’s (Janet Montgomery) pregnancy after takeoff. Choosing to avoid a PR nightmare, and apparently not wanting the female astronaut to pass up the chance of a lifetime to visit the Martian planet, Shepherd allows Sarah to go to Mars and carry out a birth on the Red planet. Ignoring the inherent danger, Sarah dies during childbirth.
Gardner’s life isn’t all bad, outside the fact he’s never met his parents. He has an annoying WALL-E-like companion that bugs him; he hacks the Mars station on a consistent basis and chats with Tulsa (Robertson) back on Earth. Sure she doesn’t know he lives on Mars and their friendship, that’s building towards an online relationship, is built on a lie, but he has someone to relate to and grow with. He manages to convince the scientists on Mars and Earth to go allow him to go to Florida, despite his body being underdeveloped and possibly incapable of handling Earth’s gravity.
There’s a lot of unnecessary exposition and unexplained character motivations in the first 30 minutes of THE SPACE BETWEEN US, dragging viewers along like a teacher lecturing students on an inane and dry topic. Once Gardner’s back on Earth, he escapes a government facility without being detected and then travels to where Tulsa lives. Apparently his weakened heart isn’t stopping him from doing any of this, as well as the plane he later jumps out of in the movie. So we shouldn’t concern ourselves with everything the movie tells us.
Oldman, whose character is constantly running and out of breath wherever he goes, is actually trying. To the actor’s credit, he is legitimately trying in a cliché role. I can only imagine that everyone’s actor’s notes were different. Butterfield was probably asked to put himself back in his awkward middle school shoes and Robertson was told to act like the only sane person in this film. When Tulsa does find out that Gardner’s from Mars, she understandably doesn’t believe him and believes him to be another lying male who’s entered her life.
Tulsa and Gardner, despite being flawed, are relatable. Gardner is trapped, put in a corner and ignored despite being the fault of the adults around him. Tulsa lives with an alcoholic foster parent and is bullied at school. They find solace in one another and see endless possibilities when they’re together. Honestly, it’s cute and actually genuine; one of the few genuine things in a movie riddled with eye rolling dialogue and conventional teenage angst. These moments that are shared by these two characters, and actors, are some of the best moments of the movie.
However, nearly everything is else is over-the-top and poorly written. As schlock, it’s funny and would surely make for a great episode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. As a film that needs to be taken seriously, it’s subpar and insulting to the viewer’s intelligence. As a bizarre coming-of-age story, it kind of works and treats its characters like relatable human beings. But that’s not an endorsement and that doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy this.
BLU RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:40:1) Everything from the sweeping landscapes of the United States to the antiseptic feel of the space station are captured wonderfully on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The mixing on this blu-ray is wonderful, complete with a lossless soundtrack.
Alternate Ending (3:01): A self-explanatory feature that I can’t talk really talk about, other than the fact they decided on the right ending.
Deleted Scenes (13:44): There are five scenes altogether, including the opening speech by Nathan, which is a solid six and a half minutes of yawn. All these scenes were understandably removed for adding nothing of importance to the story or it’s characters.
Love Featurette (4:28): This feature is unnecessarily short since it tries to compact the movie’s themes, characters, and overall plot into four minutes. Not a lot of useful information to mine from this feature.
Feature Commentary with Director Peter Chelsom: I wasn’t expecting the director to sound so intellectual and enthusiastic about the film. It’s actually very interesting hearing someone, who’s so eloquent, talk about and describe an inherently crappy movie. I would love to hear his other commentaries on his other films.