The Space Between Us
Runtime 120 minutes
OK for children
One expects plotholes and impossible occurrences in science fiction films. But this one breaks the mold. It’s actually a pretty interesting plot.
Gardner Elliott (Asa Butterfield) is born at a space station on Mars. We meet him 16 years later as he is communicating via computer with a young high school girl, Tulsa (Britt Robertson), located on earth. In this communication, and in subsequent communications between people on earth and the people in the space station on Mars, they speak to each other and communicate with absolutely no delay. In fact, depending on the relative positions of Mars and Earth, the minimum delay would be four minutes and the maximum delay would be 24 minutes. While this would be impossible to replicate in a motion picture, they should have found some way that would be believable for Asa to communicate with his girlfriend. As it is, for them to speak to one another as if they’re sitting at the same table is ludicrous.
In addition to experiencing love, Gardner wants desperately to find his father. After he arrives back on earth, the lack of credibility of each succeeding scene builds up to enormous, insurmountable, proportions. He escapes from his watchers with no money, no knowledge of where he is or how to travel, and sets out to find Tulsa, who is in Colorado, a quest he accomplishes with ridiculous ease. One would think that director Peter Chelsom could have found a more credible way for them to communicate with one another that would have still been cinematic.
Then his watchers, Nathaniel (Gary Oldman) and Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino) try to find him. Even though this is a task harder than finding a needle in haystack, they are always just a step behind him, no matter where he goes or how he gets there. One scene that is really laughable finds Gardner and Tulsa hopping on a crop duster and flying away from them, as they are chasing Gardner on foot. In the blink of an eye Nathaniel and Kendra are in a helicopter chasing Gardner and Tulsa.
The silliness of these scenes and others that follow are what really keeps this movie from being as entertaining as it could have been.