Ad Astra (2019)

ad-astra-movie-review-poster-2019Director: James Gray

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 123 Minutes

Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Jamie Kennedy, John Ortiz, Greg Bryk

Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride travels through the solar system to learn the truth about his father who went missing years ago, as well as finding out what is causing an attack of solar flares on Earth which have the potential of destroying the planet.

My Thoughts: Before I start my rant I want to be clear, I don’t go into any movie expecting or wanting to dislike it. Even widely hated movies – I try to find the good in them. I can absolutely see why the majority love Ad Astra, and I wouldn’t argue their points, but it didn’t work for me at all. There are plenty of movies in the same genre that I’ve loved, but I couldn’t love Ad Astra. I’m going to flag the rest of my post as spoiler territory just so I can make my points without being cryptic!

Firstly – did Roy really need to travel all the way to Mars to make that transmission? Are you telling me that in this future, where you can buy a Subway sandwich ON THE MOON, that you can’t pre-record a message and transmit it to wherever they know Roy’s father is? That alone was frustrating me endlessly. Also – kudos to Helen for sneaking Roy onto that ship so he could find his father, but could she not have given someone else in the crew a heads up? Come on Helen!

I’m all for a surprise ending, but this one was just really depressing. I liked finding out that actually, there’s a super high chance that us humans are the only intelligent beings in the universe (too many sci-fi movies are like, ALIENS) but it just made everything seem so…pointless. Like, I guess you could argue that Mad Max: Fury Road was just as pointless, but at least the ride was fun!

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Best Bit: The buggy chase and shootout scene on the moon was pretty darn cool, right? The whole movie is full of beautiful cinematography but that scene, in particular, was pretty breathtaking.

Worst Bit: Why scare the crap out of me with a giant, crazed, murderous space monkey, which seemed to add nothing to the plot? I’m filing Ad Astra in the same cabinet at Nocturnal Animals for jump scares that are unforgivable.

Fun Trivia: While shooting the climactic scene, Brad Pitt ended up crying unprompted in character. But as the scene takes place in zero-g, Pitt told director James Gray that the tear should be edited in post to float like a bubble off his face, rather than run down his cheek. “You gotta replace my tear, that’s not how it works in zero-gravity,” Pitt reportedly said, to which Gray responded, “I’m sorry, I’m keeping it. The acting’s too good, buddy.”

My Rating: 2 Subway sandwiches which you can purchase once disembarking your commercial Virgin Atlantic flight to the moon.

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Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

the-cloverfield-paradox-review-2018The Superbowl isn’t a big deal over here in the UK, nor is it watchable at a decent time in the day thanks to the time zones, so I woke up on Monday morning to a lot of exciting news! A Han Solo trailer (I’m holding onto all hope it’s good), some other big movie announcements, and the crazy news that not only is the new Cloverfield movie ready, it’s released right now on Netflix! You’ve got to hand it to everyone responsible for keeping that under wraps so well in days like these.

I’ll admit I’m a little sad it’s not out in the cinema, but it’s such a breath of fresh air to watch a movie you’ve been anticipating for a long time without seeing a single trailer or knowing anything about it! I’d like to say I wish Star Wars Episode 9 could be released like that, but I’ll be scouring the internet for any news on that for the next (almost) 2 years!

So, this new addition to the Cloverfield movie universe is The Cloverfield Paradox, and it’s a story set in space following an international crew aboard a space station who accidentally smash into an alternate dimension whilst using a particle accelerator to try and solve Earth’s energy crisis. Bit different to a creepy guy in a bunker, right?

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What I love about this discovery is how much it opens up possibilities in the Cloverfield universe. There was no energy crisis mentioned in the previous movies – that’s because those movies happened in different dimensions! The team can literally do whatever they like now, and it sounds like they are as the next instalment is set during World War II.

Sadly, one only needs to Google the name of this movie to discover that the internet hates it. Sigh. I can understand their points, the plot is a bit silly in places but for me that’s what makes it so much fun. If I’m watching Sci-Fi I don’t always want it to be ridiculously hard to understand like Interstellar, or terrifying like Alien. Sometimes I just want to be entertained! Besides, as silly as it is I still think it’s better quality than last year’s Life and the previous year’s Passengers.

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I found the crew to be incredibly likeable, and I felt a real connection to Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character Hamilton. She’s the star here and she’s presented with such a horrible situation that I won’t go into for spoilerific reasons. Perhaps many will disagree but I thought the story took a lot of twists that were unexpected, and I really didn’t have a clue how it would end until the credits themselves. How cool would that final moment have been on the big screen though?!

I realise I’m completely in the majority here on enjoying The Cloverfield Paradox but that’s okay with me. I give it 4 out of 5 severed arms!

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