The “space adventure” is one of those sub-genres of science fiction that is not easy to define succinctly. Star Wars is science fantasy because of the existence of magic, and basic swords and sorcery elements. Star Trek and Firefly are science fiction since it is grounded in reality and attempts, with some exceptions, to steer clear of fantasy elements. Alien, Predators, and The Thing are sci-fi horror. So what is the space adventure? All of these arguably cross over into that category.
The space adventure story must exist at least in part in outer space or outer space must be a key part of the story. It may be easier to list off examples. You know a space adventure when you see it. The best ever may be Guardians of the Galaxy. The River Phoenix/Ethan Hawke film Explorers and Flight of the Navigator are great examples. Avatar, Zathura, Wall-E, and Titan AE, seem to fit, and maybe even Starman, Super 8, Howard the Duck, *batteries not included, E.T., the Extraterrestrial, and Thor arguably fit the category, although there are plenty of other ways to categorize alien visitation films (including Superhero movies). What about Armaggeddon and Gravity?
The new film The Space Between Us appears to fit the space adventure label. Not so heavy on the science, or not appearing to let science get too much in the way of the basic character study, the focus is on the adventure, the awe brought to the lead characters in light of something unique or special.
In The Space Between Us, Ender’s Game’s Asa Butterfield stars as the first human born on Mars. Despite the same setting, this doesn’t appear to be in the realm of the sci-fi comedy/drama The Martian, last year’s hit film starring Matt Damon. It co-stars Britt Robertson, star of the similar looking Tomorrowland. It may be that the fact the film stars two young looking actors that this seems more adventure than science fiction. It feels a bit like Tomorrowland, another film that is difficult to categorize. Both seem targeted at a young audience. If it is science fiction, it appears to be science fiction-lite. It’s title seems to borrow from teen dramas. However you want to label it, check out this trailer:
The cast includes Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Wayward Pines), BD Wong (Jurassic Park), and Gary Oldman (The Fifth Element, The Dark Knight).
The Space Between Us is scheduled for release in theaters August 19, 2016.