Happy Saturday, everyone! Next week, it’ll be Jamie Bell week, so I’ll be reviewing five of his films, but right now…it’s the weekend, so all bets are off! Today, I review The Space Between Us, a unique science fiction teenage romance that I had been looking forward to since seeing the previews. I like the actors and I liked the concept…but that doesn’t really mean anything, does it? Well, let’s cross our fingers and talk about the plot.
The Space Between Us focuses on Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield), as the first human born on Mars. You see, an astronaut gave birth to him on Mars, so NASA basically has to keep him a secret in order to avoid gossip or the possibility to abort their mission to help make Mars an inhabitable planet. Meanwhile, Garner falls for a girl on Earth, who has no idea that he’s actually on Mars – so his dream is to go to Earth to meet this girl. Only, there’s one problem, he’s basically allergic to Earth. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s an easy way to put it, okay!?
Now, it should be noted that critics aren’t a huge fan of this thing. Rotten Tomatoes has it under 20% while Metacritic has it a bit above 30%, but not by much. Okay, but why? Well, here’s what RT has to say:
The Space Between Us strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits. – Rotten Tomatoes
That’s really rough, and they clearly don’t follow the same rating structure that I do. If I had to guess, some critics were influenced by other critics that didn’t like it, and held bias above a fair review. That’s why I try my best to ignore bias and stick to something as close to an exact science as possible. My score generator is basically just a checklist/calculator. So, let’s talk about The Space Between Us. Normally, I can understand and agree with critics. This time, I was the exact opposite.
So, let’s break this thing down and get down to the nitty-gritty!
PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
First off, the people score gets a perfect 10/10. That means at bare minimum, if everything else sucked, it would be scored a 10/100, which is already really close to what RT says, but we have so many categories to go after this…this is just one category out of ten. I was impressed with the acting range from everyone, especially since the two leads are young. I will remember the characters from the movie – you have a young genius with a passion, you have a maternal figure that isn’t related by blood, you have a girl who is also compassionate and just plain fun, and a driven but mysterious man who’ll do anything to follow his agenda. I don’t think anyone else could really play these characters because they all work so well together as is, and yeah…everyone in the movie had a different role to play, had a different agenda that ultimately added to what was happening in the movie.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
The writing score was also almost perfect. The only thing I didn’t give a perfect score to was the dialogue, which was mostly just typical and forgettable. Everything else was fine, though. It’s easy to follow and not over-convoluted, the story tells about a need for love and friendship above all else, a need that reaches beyond the stars, I consider it pretty original in general, and I was interested in seeing it before it even came out, so take that as you will.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 2
When it comes to things going on behind-the-scenes, I mostly have a mix-mash of scores. The directing, editing and advertisement weren’t really all that special. They were typical and unnoticeable for the most part. However, I do believe the advertisements were slightly lying to the audience, as I was expecting a long and brutal fight for Gardner to find his way to Earth, but he had nothing to do with going to Earth. He wanted to go, and they just let him…so much for a fight to go there. The movie was more of a fight to get him back to space. Now, I do consider it visually stunning in plenty of spots, and I liked the music choices as well.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
It also had a perfect score for the narrative arc. The introduction had us meeting every main character in the film and their passions toward everything. The inciting incident has everyone on Earth when the kid goes missing looking for his crush. The obstacles come down to trying to escape authorities that are chasing him. I won’t tell you what the climax or falling action is, but they are both very clear and satisfying as far as narrative arc structures go.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 4/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1
How about how entertaining it is? Once again, a mix-mash. I think it’s entertaining enough to keep watching but not much more than that. I don’t want to buy it or talk to anyone about it, really. I might watch it again someday, but there is no rush, and it does sometimes suck the audience in during certain scenes. I do consider it sort of fun while watching though, take that as you will.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 45/50
Sci-Fi – 10|Romance – 10|Thought-provoking – 5|Drama/Emotional – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Finally, we’re up to the final five questions that I wrote before watching the film. First of all, it looks like a science fiction film, so how science fiction-y is it? Actually, it isn’t too bad in that department. Besides just being in space, you have a lot of near-futuristic technologies going on as well. How about the romance angle? Well, I believe the two leads had a pretty decent chemistry, so that gets a perfect score. It sort of looked thought-provoking as well, as a movie that is centered on the first…Martian, so to speak. You would think there would be a lot of almost political messages regarding that fact, but…not really. There are a few messages here and there, but not nearly enough. Another thing I expected was an emotional drama, and you do get that here as well. Finally, is it halfway decent? Absolutely, I didn’t really see many things wrong with this one.