Okay I admit it, I’m a hopeless romantic. In many ways this movie, released in January 2017 reminds me of a mix of Robert Heinlein and Nicolas Sparks.
Asa Butterfield (known for Ender’s Game, Hugo, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children stars in this film that focuses on a boy born on the first private mission to Mars for colonization. Turns out his mother didn’t know she was pregnant and the corporation fearing a PR nightmare keeps the boy a secret after his mother dies in childbirth. Fast forward 16 years and we have a developing city or base still populated by scientists, and one 16 year old boy, who is now frustrated with his secret existence.
Somehow he has a Facebook type relationship that has developed with a girl his age on Earth who is in foster care. This was probably the biggest challenge for me. Their conversations are real time, ignoring the speed of light limitations of their messages. Aside from the predictable mystery that the boy goes to Earth to solve, the story works well for self-discovery, delight in experiencing Earth, and of course a girl. There is solid chemistry between the two leads when they get together.
I do worry about Asa Butterfield as an actor. His wooden performance here seems in keeping with the role, but perpetual innocence and safeguarded emotions probably won’t serve him well in an adult career. He may want to take hints from Daniel Radcliff’s efforts to transition to an adult actor.
All in all it is not a great movie, but it is a pleasant way to spend an evening without the movie being overwhelmed with CGI. It is a movie I can sit down and re-watch frequently; but don’t go in with great expectations if you rent or buy the DVD.