I absolutely hate The Fault In Our Stars. I hate it, hate it, hate it. There are many reasons, and many of the reasons are in the quite simply atrocious Anne Frank house scene which should go down in movie infamy for how offensive it is, but my core issue was that it was so coldly manipulative. Maybe it was better in the book, but you could really feel the mechanical hands of the movie trying to make sure you cry. Because that was all the film was made for, to make you have a good old weep. I was surprised the film didn’t come with a free onion that you had to peel in certain scenes. But it inspired the tragic romance to take off again but with teenagers, because it’s then more tragic. The latest in this genre is The Space Between Us, but is this any better?
Gardner Elliott (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) is the first person born on Mars but this comes with many issues, mainly the fact because his physiology grew up in a different atmosphere, he can’t travel back to Earth, meaning he has no company his own age. Despite this he strikes up a friendship with Tulsa (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland), an orphan from Colarado. So when Gardner does finally get to Earth, he runs off from NASA despite their worries about him so he can finally meet her.
Interestingly, The Space Between Us isn’t all about the romance between Gardner and Tulsa but has actually thrown another element into it to try and make it more interesting. That element is a road trip, so no it doesn’t really work pretty much every film seems to think that chucking their characters into a car for a long period of time will instantly make everything better. Heck even good films do this nowadays. The idea of a good road trip movie is that you get to know the characters as they go long, but here it is mainly used for Gardner to slowly cough up details of his life up in Mars, details we already know of course. So as a road trip movie, it fails right off the bat. Plus, it’s quite hard to root for characters that constantly steal cars.
So maybe they use some of this time to develop this romance? After all, we really need to need to be invested in the budding love between these two teenagers during The Space Between Us, so that we weep the maximum amount of tears for when they are eventually separated. Well, that doesn’t really work either. Unfortunately, Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson don’t share that much chemistry together. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t nothing there. They obviously enjoy their conversations together and you can imagine them as good friends but those first few kisses feel very awkward. I am quite aware that I am friend zoning movie characters here but they do seem like they would be better friends than romantic partners.
And I just want to note something a bit odd I noticed. Normally I’d usually keep this to a sentence but quite frankly this movie is very tough to talk about for how uninteresting it is so I need to do all I can to make sure I give you a full review. Tulsa begins the movie as quite a harsh tomboy, a rather unique character really. She’s obviously damaged and quite curt with everyone she sees, traits you don’t usually see in a female character we are meant to like. It is a refreshing change. However as soon she finds a pretty dress in a supermarket, she turns into a typical lovestruck girl who is just going to help Gardner on his own quest. This is shown as a very positive change and it all feels a bit weird to me. Make what you will out of it.
That quest that Gardner is on by the way, let’s talk about it. While on Earth, he wants to find out who his father is as he never met him. Simple enough, plenty of room for some emotional scenes that could get some extra tears from your audience. It’s built up well enough on top of that, nothing that good it’s worth noting but you can’t really complain about it either, but the conclusion to it is really bizarre. I won’t go into it too much as some of you may still want to watch this film after this review, but there basically is no conclusion. Other plot elements come into play and basically stop this other thread in it’s tracks and stopping it from having a proper ending. That’s just terrible storytelling.
So, what good can we get from The Space Between Us? Well Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises) is in it and while he won’t be using any of the scenes in this movie on his highlight reel, he is still a lot of fun to watch as I think he realised this wasn’t a great movie so he decided he was going to go full out nuts in the role. And that at least brought a smile to my face. Plus, this movie isn’t as coldly manipulative as some of the other tragic romances I’ve seen. The depressing stuff that eventually happens is telegraphed, but only towards the end of the film do they ever push you into trying to make you cry. Which makes a lot of the jokes in this review defunct, but the movie is defunct so who cares? It doesn’t even make you cry because of all of the other failings in this film.
This was a very tough review to write and I can’t believe that I’ve managed to get this to a length where it was actually worth your time. That’s because The Space Between Us is about as generic as they come really other than the odd sci-fi elements. It has some bland characters played blandly with bland chemistry. It’s even got one of the blandest titles I’ve seen in a while to go with it. You can’t really buy into it because of that and so it’s not going to achieve it’s main aim of making you cry. Well, unless you spent £20 on the 4K Blu-Ray and realised how much money you’ve wasted on a crap movie.