The Space Between Us (2017)

This must have seemed like a good idea to someone in Hollywood.

One can almost imagine the process:  “hey, we’ve done well with realistic space films like Gravity and Interstellar…and we’re packing the teenagers in with these angsty romances…I know!  We’ll combine the two!”

Or was there a Reese’s commercial moment when two aides carrying scripts bumped into each other and got their pages mixed?  “You got your space movie in my teen movie…”

I don’t know.

Frankly, this is one of those films I consider to be rather irresponsible.  We have the meet-cute teens, thrown together on a mission to find the unknown father of the boy born on Mars, who hurl themselves straight into the nearest sleeping bag.  It is amazing, in our day and age, that no one takes sex seriously.  It’s like we’ve forgotten the reality of sex – the deep emotional bonds it creates and the very real possibility of serious consequences – and all we can see is that the sudden rush of hormones magically makes everything okay.  Particularly for a young teenage boy who not only has to deal with all the uncertainties of looming adulthood, but has grown up isolated and with minimal contact with other people.

As I said, irresponsible.  It’s the last message modern teens need to hear.

And the space film bits?  Most of them are reasonably good, but there are  some serious, plot related physics lapses that undermine the rest of the film.  It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone that a boy who can’t stand Earth’s gravity is not going to do very well in re-entry or on the Four-G shuttle ride back into orbit.  Or even in a sudden rocket plane burst into the stratosphere (probably at least 2 Gs, without sudden turns).  Nor is the gravity any less in the Stratosphere, so getting there doesn’t really help.  Free-fall would, but even from that height you still wouldn’t get much free-fall.  Maybe a few minutes.  Certainly not enough to make up for the stress of accelerating to that height.  I thought the space plane sequence was in there as a way to get into orbit without pulling too many Gs (am I a total cynic if I suspect, from certain elements in the script, that that was the plan all along, but they changed it because someone in management thought the audience wouldn’t understand?), so it was a real shock to see them just coast for a bit and pretend it would magically make things better.

Hummmmph.  More magic.  Couldn’t they just have him survive because he was bitten by a vampire?

Maybe that’s what was in the romance script.

Oh, well.  Points for a cool Mars base, and space hardware.  Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino do excellent work – with what they’re given. But, sadly, the teen stars were star-crossed (or maybe star-double-crossed) by the story.

Still, it’s not really that bad:

It just can’t overcome it’s flaws.

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