“The Space Between Us” is a 2017 American romantic science fiction film directed by Peter Chelsom, produced by Richard B. Lewis, and written by Allan Loeb, from a story by Stewart Schill, Lewis and Allan Loeb. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman, Britt Robertson, and Carla Gugino, and follows a teenage boy, born on Mars, who travels to Earth. Set in the near future, an astronaut stationed on Mars discovers she is pregnant, dying in childbirth. Her son, Gardner Elliot, lives on the planet his whole life, but eventually forms a friendship online with a girl from Earth named Tulsa. When he turns 16, he is given a chance to go to Earth and meet her, but it is soon discovered that his organs cannot survive Earth’s gravity. Gardner and Tulsa attempt to see more of Earth before it is too late. The score is written by Andrew Lockington and I’m always eager to listen to his music because he writes orchestral music with passion.
Take “I want to go to Mars” for example; I know the order of the cues doesn’t always matter but this feels like an opening for a movie featuring big dreams and the immensity of space. If I were a film music composer and got an assignment for a story like this with Mars, kids, emotions, space I would just bask in the joy of having to bring my contribution to something with very few constraints. Imagination is all it takes and Andrew Lockington puts his to good use with this orchestral opening, subdued but slowly opening up as if me as a listener was being carried closer to the outer space as as I get closer the space becomes wider and wider and opens up to me so instead of getting closer I feel smaller and I hear all this in this 6 minute piece which tries to keep me anchored to the ground while in the same time showing me the wonders I will see. It’s orchestral, slightly dissonant at times because, isn’t’ it so, perspective might get skewed because of how small I am compared to…space. The organ, the piano, they all add to this beautiful landscape.
I realize that when it comes to orchestral scores I am much more opened to enjoying even the cues that aren’t as exciting. I’ll take a generic orchestral cue over a generic electronic one any day and as I listen to the Thomas Newman like “The rover” warm up to its beautiful piano and string moments even if overall the cue isn’t memorable to me. The entire score is an adventure and some moments are bound to be better than others.
Then comes the piano effervescence of “Coming to see you” and a cue like this always gets to me; the rolling piano speaks to me and makes me feel the excitement and joy of anticipating something very good and pleasant. I love the stride and optimism, both with the carelessness of childhood and I remember all the gorgeous adventure scores Lockington wrote in the past few years. This might not be a fantasy adventure score, spectacular and alert all the time but this is a different kind of adventure, with the Mars an Earth settings, the new worlds and with the emotions surrounding the story. The point it “The space between us” feels alive and addictive and I want to be a part of it from beginning to end.
Andrew Lockington shows once again that when it comes to orchestral adventure film scores in today’s world he’s one of the safest bets. His music is beautiful and optimistic and playful and there’s never a dull moment. I get a lot of feelings listening to film music but it’s not often that even during a cue I am curious as to what happens next and where the music will go, what surprises the composers has in store for me. This is how you describe musically a new and fascinating world. “The space between us” makes me feel all this and I will surely come back to it. I can’t wait to see the movie.
Cue rating: 92 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 48
Album excellence: 65%
I Want to Go to Mars
Coming to See You
No One Has to Know
Race to Save Gardner
Hand on Knee