Review: ‘The Space Between Us’ Is Like ‘The Martian’ Meets ‘Paper Towns’
“The Space Between Us” is visually stunning but contextually lacking.
Gardner, the first person born on Mars, travels to Earth for the first time embarking on a journey with a new friend. As their friendship evolves into romance, Gardner’s health while on Earth raises concern.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 2
“The Space Between Us” starts off strong with an intriguing premise and captivating visuals. While some of the plot elements can be attributed to pseudoscience, there are few distractions in the first act. The CGI elements are seamless during space travel and both the Mars and Earth landscapes are vast and vibrant. If the film focused solely on exploration, it would have been cinematically cohesive but unfortunately that is not the case.
The downward turning point occurs around the beginning of the second act. When Gardner (Asa Butterfield) finally meets Tulsa (Britt Robertson), the euphoria experienced from optical splendor and a promising plot quickly fades away. The chemistry between Butterfield and Robertson is so atrocious that it weighs down their abilities as actors and dampens the experience for the rest of the film. The only positive outcome of their performance was highlighting Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino who managed to salvage something from almost nothing. While Butterfield’s dialogue was intended to be awkward, the execution lacked emotion and sincerity. The way his character engaged Tulsa felt more like an obsessed sociopath than a teenager in love.
The film’s foundation relied too heavily on the romance. Despite the subtle reminders about Mars and the perceivably captivating adventure, the main characters’ mediocrity was overpowering. I had nearly forgotten the hopeful promise of the first act by the time the third began.
“The Space Between Us” is best described as “The Martian” if it were heavily influenced by “Paper Towns.” Unfortunately this mixture did not yield an effective formula relying more on unsubstantiated teenage love rather than promising science fiction.
Entertainment Value – 2
Many of the entertainment highlights run parallel with the cinematic value. The visuals are on par with many highly regarded outer space based films. I was immensely engaged in the beginning but once the setting moved to Earth (which happened rather quickly) the enjoyment was sporadic at best.
I had absolutely no interest in the love story and it watered down the sci-fi experience which was the most entertaining aspect. The lack of chemistry just supplemented the already nonexistent character development and context. Unfortunately much of the entertainment lies in the idea of this film and what it could have been.
Re-Watchability – 1.5
With just a glimmer of gratification, I doubt I would give “The Space Between Us” another chance in any format. Many films have some reason to revisit but with this one I think I could use a bit more “space between” myself and this movie.
"The Space Between Us" is on visually on par with other top tier outer space films. Unfortunately it lacks context in every other element. Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson have a cringeworthy lack of chemistry that seeps into other elements of the film and thereby dampening the entire experience.