After creating a teleportation device to impress the girl he loves Casper takes her on an adventure that goes slightly wrong. After a few more malfunctions Casper finds that there are no guarantees in love and it’s important to value himself and his invention in the romantic comedy From Here To There.
As I watched From Here To There, a teleportation fantasy that basically comes across as a Richard Curtis project, I remembered that, despite myself, I do actually like Richard Curtis’ type of self-indulgent romantic comedies. Director Atkinson follows all of the Curtis tropes in a script that he wrote himself, by giving us a bumbling nice-guy hero an aloof romantic interest, a slightly smug boyfriend, and a second far-more-suitable romantic interest to give us a not-so-surprising final twist.
While somewhat falling for this charming little fantasy of unrequited love, I realised that the best romantic comedies are often more about the casting than the script because, despite questionable plot directions and excess scenes, Curtis was always able to find the perfect leading men for his films with Hugh Grant’s fluttery-eyed innocent with no idea about love becoming the standard bearer. Directing pair George M. Atkinson and Alan Ciechalski have also managed to find their own version of Grant, with the abundantly charming presence of Timothy Blore as Casper, who anchors the short with the assured presence of a veteran comedian. Blore has a lot of dialogue to get through, which is full of technical language and scientific jargon; it’s all very well written by Atkinson and really well delivered by Blore, enabling him to not only invoke the already mentioned Hugh Grant but an awful lot of Jeff Goldblum, who became an early part of the Curtis machine with his turn in The Tall Guy.
Casper, in true high-concept comedy style, has invented a teleportation machine based on the nautical navigational concepts of ‘Port and Starboard’ – his device allows him to travel anywhere in the world. His aim is to use his machine to win the affection of his crush Ellen, who is played with the right amount of sarcasm and disdain by Fiona Lynn. After a few malfunctions, it becomes clear that Ellen has absolutely no interest in Casper and is just taking advantage of his feelings for her and his teleportation machine.
The cinematography by Benjamin Wong is lusciously shot with the greens of the fields and trees in the opening sections beautifully framing our two leads. The costume choices are also really well done, with Lynn’s bright red beret and her overall look strike quite an iconic image with Blore’s glasses, shirt, and shorts combo screaming science geek even though he is far too ripped to be a total dweeb. Also memorable is some of the Steadicam work while Casper fiddles with his invention, along with the slow-motion attempts at the first joint teleport. The special effects of the teleportation itself are also quite decent and reminiscent of mid 00’s Dr. Who episodes. I did have some criticisms about Atkinson’s script, as I felt he tended to hammer home his message that we will all find the right person eventually, and a scene halfway through the short between two supporting characters named Gary and Faye wasn’t needed at all, especially when we meet Faye later on. Her impact as a plot device would have been much greater if we had met her when Casper does. Because of that earlier scene, her role feels somewhat diminished.
From the minds of co-director and writer George M. Atkinson and Alan Ciechalski, From Here To There is a very entertaining 30 minutes during which Atkinson, Ciechalski, and their team manage to tap into that Great British eccentricity that sets British romances apart from the crowd. To enjoy the full experience of the short film you do have to allow the logical parts of your brain to switch off during the more convenient bits of business and allow yourself to just go with the feel-good flow.