What's your favorite thing about Earth? We hear this question several times and some of the answers might surprise you.
Writer/Director/Editor Stewart Schill ("Frank vs. God") wrote a story about a boy born and raised on Mars (see how THAT works!) who eventually travels to Earth. He is interested in his heritage and despite the risks, wants to find the father whose name was never revealed by his long-deceased mother, although he has found a photograph. He quickly learns that things are far more complicated than he expected.
Allan Loeb ("The Switch") has created a screenplay based on this story and Director Peter Chelsea ("Hector and the Search for Happiness") has taken it from there. All three men in this creative team seem to focus on intrinsic values rather than financial or political gain; I respect that about them.
Part of the cast:
- Asa Butterfield ("Ender's Game") Gardner Elliot never expected his heart to be broken. It isn't the only element of his Mars-born body that causes him trouble. He has known all of his young life that he is a secret NASA has kept hidden away, and growing up in reduced gravity has had an effect on his body.
- Britt Robertson ("Tomorrowland") Tulsa is the girl who wants to fix Gardner's heart trouble. She also has the joy of introducing him to the oddball things he sees on this planet. Just look at a caterpillar! She has learned the hard way that people lie to her. By the way, this actress can blurt a monologue with the best! After she hears his outrageous claims, she knows she is on a road trip with a wacko.
- Carla Gugino ("Wayward Pines") Kendra is the woman entrusted with Gardner's care from the time he was born. She is the closest thing to a mother that he has.
- BD Wong ("Law and Order") Genesis Director Chen is in command of the NASA expedition that produces Gardner. The question was: Should we bring that pregnant astronaut home and jeopardize the mission or should we keep the baby's birth a secret?
- Gary Oldman ("Man Down") Nathaniel Shepherd would never jeopardize NASA's reputation. He does insist that this is NOT an experiment. He says, "This is a human, not a mouse!"
- Colin Egglesfield ("Rizzoli and Isles") HIs is the face beside Gardner's mother in that tantalizing photo. And he kept that house as he promised.
I so wanted this to be a rave and I'll admit there are many elements to praise: The two appealing young actors who play the leads, the scenery (Colorado mountains, Monument Valley, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas), the fun of a road trip movie, and watching our Stranger in a Strange Land learn about Earth.
Unfortunately this PG-13 movie makes only a passing salute to science, with enormous plot holes we willfully ignore, many coincidences that tax our suspended disbelief, plus riding a motorcycle without a helmet (that one really bothered me!) and blowie uppie stuff so contrived it made us sigh... However, if you're in the mood for a teen romance, this one is just the ticket.